A $1.7 million Victorian project by Spirit Telecom to introduce an alternative to the National Broadband Network (NBN) around the Horsham area has been completed.
The speed has been described as being on par to those in metropolitan Melbourne and interstate, according to a statement from the Victorian Government.
In collaboration with the Victorian Government, Spirit’s upgraded network can see speeds up to one gigabit per second across Horsham, Swan Hill, Rupanyup, Warracknabeal and parts of South Australia.
Spirit managing director Sol Lukatsky said the project was completed on time and on budget.
“We're genuine in our intent to support regional Victoria with high speed internet. And for that reason, we've gone in at a sharper price,” he said.
Part of the agreement with the Victorian government was that the service would be offered to businesses at a lower price than other business-grade broadband services available in Victoria, which was announced first in October 2018.
The motivation behind the project was to close the digital divide between regional and metropolitan Victoria.
“The truth of the matter is that the businesses that we do we provide internet to are just as sophisticated and important regardless if they're in Cranbourne, Doncaster and Horsham,” Lukatsky added.
Jaclyn Symes, Minister for Regional Development, said that remote areas of Victoria should have access to reliable internet connectivity.
“Country Victoria deserves access to fast, reliable broadband to support farmers, help businesses grow and make our country communities even better places to live and work,” he added.
The $1.7 million in funding for the project from the Victorian Government stems from the $45 million Connecting Regional Communities Program.
In addition to the funding for Spirit’s project, the state government has also invested $16.7 million for free public Wi-Fi in Ararat and Latrobe Valley and is also supporting the Mobile Blackspot Program, internet adoption for on-farm technology, a state-wide Digital Economy Plan and Regional Partnership digital plans.