Francis Logan

Francis Logan

Minister for Energy; Resources; Industry and Enterprise

    The Kimberley gets connected!

    16/04/2008 12:00 AM

    Broome and the remote Aboriginal communities of Ardyaloon, Bidyadanga, Djarindjin and Lombadina have been successfully connected to broadband.

    A dozen more towns and communities will be connected over the next couple of months.


    Industry and Enterprise Minister Francis Logan today announced that the $6million Kimberley Broadband Solutions Project was on target to be completed by the middle of this year.


    The Kimberley Broadband Solutions Project was jointly funded by the Federal and State Governments and leading communications firm, NewSat Ltd.


    Mr Logan made the announcement in Broome today, after yesterday visiting Ardyaloon and witnessing the benefits of the project.


    “Ardyaloon has become a wireless hotspot that will allow the community to access affordable broadband services,” he said.


    “Like all the remote communities we are servicing, broadband will allow Ardyaloon to break the distance barrier and connect with the world.


    “It will make life easier by creating better education opportunities for children and expanding their employment opportunities for the future.   


    “Another 12 locations will be connected over the next couple of months, providing better access to a range of facilities, including advanced health, distance education, online banking and e-business.


    “I congratulate NewSat Ltd for their work on the project and I am excited to see the project near completion and the advantages it will have for the communities.”


    NewSat chief operating officer Chris Frith said the company’s Bayswater teleport would be the base for the project.


    “Transmissions will be sent via Bayswater to satellites positioned 36,000km above the equator and beamed back to the wireless hotspots set-up in the 16 remote Kimberley communities involved in the groundbreaking project,” Mr Firth said.


    “The seamless combination of satellite communication and local hotspots will then allow the communities to access broadband on their computers and other telecommunication devices.


    “Using satellite communication provides tremendous opportunities for future economic and social expansion in the region and is the most affordable service for remote customers.


    “With Western Australian and Federal Government support of infrastructure, the communities will pay the same cost as the metropolitan area.”


    Ardyaloon Incorporated chief executive officer Keith Farlow said the telecommunications upgrade would allow Ardyaloon community members to create their own opportunities for a sustainable future.


    “It will help to improve the community’s well-being by creating opportunities that go well beyond what is available now - doing business will become easier,” Mr Farlow said.


    Kimberley MLA Carol Martin said the broadband project would provide valuable access for the communities and broaden the services available to its members.


    Mrs Martin also announced that the State Government had donated 20 computers to the Ardyaloon community.


    “The computers are already having a positive impact in the community,” she said.


    “Community members, particularly the younger people, are becoming more computer literate, thanks largely to the provision of basic computer courses.”


    The computer courses are provided under the Department of Industry and Resources’ IT Outback Skilling Project by the Department of Local Government and Regional Development and delivered by the local TAFE.


    The other communities to be connected to broadband over the next couple of months are Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Kununurra, Wyndham, Yiyili, Oombulgurri, Warmun, Wirrimanu, Yungngora, Looma and Cambalin and Kalumburu.


    The Kimberley Broadband Solutions Project was designed and is managed by the Department of Industry and Resources, with the support of the Commonwealth's Co-ordinated Communications Infrastructure Fund, Department of Housing and Works, Kimberley Development Commission, Department of Environment and Conservation, WA Police, Department of Local Government and Regional Development and the State Library of WA.


    Minister's Office - 9222 8950