This is the first time regional areas in Australia have been able to access up to 10Gbps internet services, opening up business and learning opportunities previously limited to big cities.

We think the future of connectivity shouldn’t just be about big cities, and that businesses and students should thrive no matter where their office or school is. After some big regional network upgrades across New South Wales recently, whether you’re in the Central West or Sydney, organisations can now access up to 10Gbps internet services.

Recent major upgrades to our fixed network across 525 exchange locations in regional NSW will bring substantial capacity improvements and help address digital access equality for the first time to many regional towns and centres.

NSW public schools are one of the first major recipients of the benefits the upgraded network will bring, with all 2200+ schools getting a big boost to their internet connections, with some schools seeing their total shared bandwidth upgraded by 15x their previous capacity.

We’ve already started moving schools on to our upgraded network, with Dubbo College Senior Campus in NSW’s Central West getting a multi gigabit capacity boost of almost 10x its previous connection the school shares across all its students and staff.

We are making good progress with delivering these higher bandwidths, upgrading around 50 schools a week which will continue throughout the rest of the year. Working closely with the NSW Department of Education, we are helping to improve digital equality across all public schools, including sites in very remote locations.

Big boost for regional businesses

But it’s not just schools that will benefit from our upgraded regional network, as businesses across NSW will also be able to access ultra-fast internet for the first time.

With a lot of us spending the last year working from home, or indeed leaving the big smoke for a tree or sea change, the ubiquitous nature of video calls has proven that for many us, business can be done from anywhere there’s a solid internet connection.

By boosting our regional networks, businesses and their employees can work from Grafton, for example, with the same quality of connection that they would have working from Sydney’s CBD.

Ultra-fast broadband means regional businesses can embrace new technologies and compete with bigger companies from the city, with capacity now to work with technologies like Augmented Reality, advanced analytics and Artificial Intelligence.

With connectivity infrastructure no longer an issue, businesses in the city have the real option to do their own tree change and move completely or open up new locations in regional towns.

Things like start-up hubs can now also think about opening or expanding outside of cities, with enough bandwidth to run hot new tech companies who need fast, reliable internet, potentially bringing huge job and economic growth to these areas.

Our upgraded network

For businesses and schools trying to operate on low-bandwidth connections, it can make their work extremely difficult, resulting in poor productivity and fewer opportunities for growth.

For city-dwellers, it’s akin to how your 50Mbps home connection might start feeling when the whole family is trying to dial in to a video call or stream their latest lecture. Now that’s just four or five people trying to use high bandwidth applications – imagine your frustration with an office full of people all trying to access the internet at once with only a bit more capacity.

Upgrading our exchanges brings internet capacity closer to regional centres, greatly increasing the speeds our regional customers’ get as a result.

We started upgrading our network in September last year, with close to 2200 of these locations already connected with fibre that now no longer require to be served internet via our Sydney hub. Having Telstra fibre there already, meant for a lot of those sites, our upgrades mostly needed to take place just at the exchanges with minimal ground digging and cables.

We’re excited to be connecting more Australians in more places to fast internet, and we’ll be continuing to upgrade our regional NSW network, with the aim to have these finished by the end of this year.