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Australia's proto-NBN now decaying in the desert

The Reg tracks the Overland Telegraph and its coaxial and microwave heirs

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Keep in mind that remote access to communications is a big issue.

It's not only that for nearly the entire trip between Darwin and Alice Springs, you're out of mobile range of any kind (with the exception of towns the size of, or bigger than, Ti Tree).

With the microwave sites already placed at about 40 km spacings (perhaps more), and with traffic relatively light on the highway, is it out of the question to have base stations covering the Stuart Highway, merely on the basis of safety if nothing else?

It's also that in a place like Willowra, telecommunications is nearly non-existent – even though as the crow flies, Willowra is only perhaps two hops away from its nearest microwave tower (one tower on the highway, one midway, one at Willowra). And that microwave tower is fed by a fibre.

The midpoint tower is a problem: The Register would guess that there's at least $100,000 needed to build it – especially if an utter lack of roads to a decent site means you're going to hire an air-crane to lift the tower into place from a road 60 km away. There's a second trip needed to haul the container carrying the electronics into place, a third to haul the concrete, and so on …

Or perhaps it's cheaper to follow roads. We know, for example, that there's fibre 160 km down the road from Willowra at Yuendumu, because it made the local news when the fibre was cut.

The Register has seen too much of the vast distances in the interior to argue that every out-station needs fibre. But even if it needed the government to set aside the odd billion to get things moving, is it such a big project that it can't even be considered? ®

*Bootnote: Thanks to the reader who pointed out that what we took for wasp nests are actually nests of the fairy martin. Having checked images such as this, we are convinced. ®

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