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Frequently Asked Questions

What is QCN Fibre?

QCN Fibre has been established as a new state-owned entity that will be a jointly-owned by Powerlink Queensland and Energy Queensland.

QCN Fibre will utilise spare capacity on the government-owned optical fibre network to sell backhaul services to telecommunications companies such as Retail Service Providers (RSPs) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

What are backhaul services?

In telecommunications networks, backhaul refers to links between the core network and the smaller sub-networks that connect to customers.

Why does the government own these assets?

The Queensland Government still owns major public utility companies such as Powerlink Queensland and Energy Queensland and each already has an extensive optical fibre network required to operate their electricity networks.

What is the government hoping to achieve?

Service providers will potentially be able to offer better packages to homes and business in regional Queensland, supporting regional businesses and increasing regional economic development. The speed of these packages will depend on the product offerings from the providers and the customer’s choice of a package.

Why is the government doing this?

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have identified regional Queensland as having one of the least competitive internet markets in Australia. The establishment of QCN Fibre is intended to promote competition, through the provision of high speed backhaul services at a reasonable cost, as a measure that may help to deliver a better and more reliable internet service for regional Queenslanders.

What areas will benefit from this plan?

QCN Fibre will utilise more than 6,000 kilometres of state-owned fibre network. This network runs along the east coast of Queensland and through centres such as Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns and many smaller communities close to these cities.

What does this mean for Queenslanders?

The establishment of QCN Fibre will lead to more competition with the aim of driving improved quality of internet for homes and businesses, which will in turn deliver broader economic and social benefits for Queensland regions.

Will this initiative interfere with the electricity network?

No, this initiative will not impact on any other services currently using the government fibre network.

Is privatisation on the cards?

No. The optical fibre network will remain in public hands.

Isn’t the provision of fibre networks the role of the National Broadband Network (NBN)?

The NBN connects homes and businesses to regional internet hubs known as Points of Interconnect. These hubs are then connected to the internet through backhaul capacity.

The NBN’s primary focus is on connecting homes and businesses to these regional internet hubs so they can access the internet.

Backhaul is usually provided by telecommunications carriers like Telstra and Optus. QCN Fibre will aim to sell extra capacity for wholesale backhaul to retail service providers at a competitive price.

QCN Fibre's initial work program will connect parts of the state’s existing fibre network to the 6 NBN Points of Interconnect in regional Queensland.

QCN Fibre is not duplicating NBN services.

When will these new backhaul services be available to the market?

QCN Fibre will start offering commercial services in the near future.

How many staff will work at QCN Fibre

Approximately 6 people will work for QCN Fibre.

Does new fibre cable need to be laid?

The vast majority of QCN Fibre's fibre network is already in place as part of Powerlink and Energy Queensland’s electricity networks. There will be a small amount of fibre construction required to knit together the existing networks.

Why is there spare capacity?

New technology means that we have spare capacity in our fibre networks that we can use to provide backhaul services to RSPs and ISPs.

How much spare capacity is there?

Capacity varies across the network. Queensland Government analysis suggests that there may be up to 50% capacity available in some areas.

How will the government use its state-owned fibre network to improve internet for consumers in regional Queensland?

The Queensland Government will be able to offer more backhaul at lower prices to RSPs and ISPs, which is intended to encourage service providers to offer better services to regional Queenslanders.

Can I buy my home or business internet from QCN Fibre?

No. QCN Fibre will not sell internet services to homes and businesses. QCN Fibre will sell backhaul internet services to RSPs and ISPs who sell internet packages to homes and businesses.

Will my internet bill be cheaper?

Pricing for your internet services will continue to be determined by your service providers, not QCN Fibre. However, there will be more competition in regional Queensland because of the creation of QCN Fibre. More competition is expected to lead to better outcomes for regional internet users.

Where can I find more information?

More information will be available when QCN Fibre commences commercial operations.

Last updated: 03 Dec 2019