The day was Wednesday 18 August 2010. The Mayor of the City was Allan Smith and the General Manager was Mark Riley. Kevin Rudd had just been ousted as Prime Minister by Julia Gillard and Kristina Keneally was Premier of the State. I sat in the offices of NBN Co in Sydney with the Mayor and the General Manager while we met with Duncan Bremner and other staff from NBN Co. The Mayor and the GM could see my excitement when I talked about the possibilities that the NBN meant for Dubbo. They arranged a meeting with NBN Co. and we pushed Dubbo forward as an early release site for the NBN. We were told there was no submission process – but we put a submission in anyway. We were told that lobbying would be of no use – but we lobbied anyway.
Then finally, while sitting at a summit in Sydney on 29 March 2012, Julia Gillard was a few kilometres away and made the announcement that Dubbo was now on the official roll out plan. The announcement was that construction in Dubbo would commence by June 2013 with the final stages set to commence by March 2014 with each area set to take less than 12 months for construction.
Since that fantastic news, we have had a change of government and a change in technology but we have worked hard with our Federal Member, Mark Coulton MP, and continued to push the case forward for Dubbo.
Finally – 2,086 days after that initial meeting at NBN Co offices, today is the day we have been waiting for.
Today is the day that the NBN is turned on in Dubbo. Two of the seven Fibre Serving Area Modules (FSAMs) will be turned on today with the rest of the seven set to be switched on by 29 June. As excited as I am that Dubbo is now at the forefront of technology in the nation, I can’t actually tell you all the things we will be doing with the NBN in five years. I can tell you what faster, clearer and cheaper communications will do for many businesses and residents in Dubbo right now but the future will hold endless possibilities and the growth and success we have seen in Dubbo over recent years is nothing compared to what we will experience in coming years.
Thank you to Allan and Mark for sharing in my vision way back in 2010 and it is incredibly gratifying to see a long-term project come to fruition. What the Telegraph line meant to Australia in the 19th century so the NBN is to Australia in the 21st century. Bring it on.
Councillor Mathew Dickerson
Mayor of the City of Dubbo