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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2003


More controversy on Tasmania's statewide fiber network

More controversy on Tasmania's statewide fiber network

It may cost as much as $100 million (Australian) worst-case to lay fiber in every ditch as a state-wide natural gas system is built in Tasmania. To me, this is a 'no-brainer' -- if these trenches are open, the state should make the investment. Once they're closed, it might cost several times as much to install fiber.

It's expensive to string or lay new fiber over existing facilities as is usually done, but very cheap to do it if a trench is already open anyway to lay in a gas pipeline. I think Tasmanians should go ahead and do this, even if the state has to issue bonds to finance it.

Depending on the fiber cable's capacity, in a rural section of the U.S., it might cost $6,000 per km (U.S.) to deploy fiber aerially, more if it needed to be buried. In a congested urban area with more expensive labor, these costs could quickly double or triple.

If the cable were being laid in an already open trench, it might cost half that amount.

1. Long article on the controversy
2. ABC Tasmania report
3. Article on state's ballooning surplus.
4. Examiner article.

For more links, see these archives:
May 18 archive
May 8 archive (also has many other links from around Australia)
April 8, 10 archives

Note: 2 U.S. dollars currently buy 3 Australian dollars.


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