Brisbane announces fibre-optic network through sewer

Brisbane residents could get super-fast fibre optic broadband through the sewer system within four years, according to the city's mayor.

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said Brisbane-based multinational i3 Asia Pacific could deliver 100Mbps broadband speeds to Brisbanites ahead of the National Broadband Network (NBN) by using the city’s wastewater pipe network.

Councillor Newman said: "Putting the fibre optics through the wastewater pipe network means Brisbane residents will get superfast broadband without unsightly cables hanging from their power poles or trenches dug along their streets.

"Under the proposal, i3 would be the wholesaler providing the superfast broadband network to the telecommunication retailers that you may already be using. This is voluntary and people would not be forced to use the service."

i3 has promised to provide all Brisbane residents and business with super-fast broadband within four years, proposing that 15,000 homes a month will receive access once the rollout begins.

The network would "complement" the NBN, the Mayor added. Construction is expected to start in 2011, with 15,000 homes connected a month.

Elfed Thomas, CEO of i3 Group, said: "The key to successful rollout of fibre to the home is cost.

"Our suite of technologies allows the cost per home to be up to 60% less than traditional build. We have completed a survey of the assets in Brisbane and conclude that these savings are realistic."

In December 2009, the i3 Group built a 1.4km fibre optic network in Brisbane for the Council's use as part of a trial.