Regions look set to benefit from an NBN Co.restructure with the announcement a new business unit dedicated to regional and remote Australia has been created.
As part of the restructure, Gavin Williams will step up into the role of chief development officer for regional and remote, reporting directly to NBN chief executive Stephen Rue and taking control of the fixed wireless and satellite networks.
The restructure announcement was made during the launch of NBN Co's business satellite service at the Cobb and Co museum in Toowoomba Queensland.
Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher applauded the appointment of Mr Williams and the formation of a dedicated business unit.
"It is about making sure we are leveraging and deploying this network, and the $49 billion taxpayers invested in it, to best serve regional and remote Australia," he said.
"Mr Williams will be a very strong voice for regional and remote customers and will have the decision making authority in terms of new products being delivered over those networks."
Mr Williams said one of his goals for the next twelve months was improving the customer experience of fixed wireless customers.
"We have a clear job to do in the fixed wireless and satellite portfolio and that includes completing the large wave of upgrades to the fixed wireless network and evolving that product to better utilise the available capacity," he said.
"In terms of satellite we have announced the launch of a business satellite product covering medium to large businesses from multiple sectors.
"Within the next twelve months we will complete that portfolio to include bandwidth services, supporting big businesses to set up national offices irrespective of where they are located in regional and remote Australia."
Mr Williams said other plans were to build the community and stakeholder engagement team and to develop new consumer products.
"We will look to continue the evolution of the satellite product, building from the Sky Muster Plus launch, to continue to improve the satellite service," he said.
Here to stay
Mr Fletcher said while new suburban developments could expect to be considered for fixed NBN solutions in the future, the business rules which determined whether an area was connected through satellite or fixed wireless were unlikely to change in the future.
"The business rules consider things like population density and geographical challenges," he said.
"NBN serves people around Australia with a mix of satellite, fixed wireless and the fixed network, and if you are 200 kilometres west of Alice Springs the choice is pretty straight forward - that is satellite territory.
"If you are in the densely populated suburbs of our cities it is pretty straight forward - you are a fixed line connection.
"Areas like the Blue Mountains, peri-urban areas around our big cities and areas along the Hawkesbury River - that's where typically NBN will deploy fixed wireless or satellite.
"The dividing lines between the geography of each network is not likely to change, but areas on the outskirts of cities and country towns, as they go from being fields to suburban development, then there will be changes as an area goes from fixed wireless."
Mr Fletcher said the benefits of internet connectivity were even more profound to people in regional and remote areas then their city cousins.
"Doing online banking is nice in the city, but if you are 300 kilometres from the nearest bank branch it is essential," he said.