Brisbane's sewer fibre plan goes down the pan

i3 flushed out of the pipes

A broadband-via-sewer rollout in Australia's third biggest city has ended almost as soon as it began, with Brisbane Council announcing the network will not continue.

In October last year, the British company i3 Group proclaimed its deal with Brisbane Council would cover 500,000 households at just A$600 per connection – much cheaper than estimates which put the Australian government’s National Broadband Network at A$3,000 per home.

But in response to questions at a council meeting yesterday, Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said the network would not proceed because the council was “unhappy with the progress of the deal”. He accused i3 of not keeping the council up to date on network progress, the Brisbane Times reports.

Other i3 rollouts have run into problems. A planned rollout in Bournemouth in the UK through subsidiary H2O networks reportedly stalled last year, with H2O and another former i3 company Fibrecity being divested to City Fibre Holdings.

The future of H2O/Fibrecity rollouts in Bournemouth and Dundee is now in doubt, with Total Asset Management, lender to City Fibre Holdings, being placed in administration and under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

As recently as two weeks ago, i3 technical officer Alasdair Retie was still booked to address a Melbourne conference on network design and construction. ®

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