Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines has welcomed the announcement from NBN Co and the Victorian Government that Benalla will soon have a NBN Business Fibre Zone, giving businesses in the regional city faster internet speeds.

Benalla will join Wangaratta and Wodonga in having a Business Fibre Zone which provides fast internet connection at prices equivalent to those available in major capital cities.

Currently, if a business wants a fibre connection they need to pay for installation of the fibre as well as a contract. Now businesses within the zone footprint will be able to access NBN Enterprise Ethernet services with a $0 fibre installation cost and receive fast speeds at CBD equivalent pricing.

Businesses will be able to contact their internet service provider to order new connections starting on September 1.

“This is a win for Benalla, where the business community has been calling for better internet infrastructure for a long time,” Dr Haines said.

“It was inexplicable that Benalla was left out of the first round of NBN Business Fibre Zones in regional Victoria, and I am glad this has been set right.”

Dr Haines said better internet connectivity was key to businesses in regional areas having a level playing field with their city counterparts and meet the growing needs of their customers.

“Business owners in the regions want to know their EFTPOS machines will stay connected and their video conferencing won’t crash. They are working hard, innovating and investing in their businesses, and now businesses in Benalla won’t be held back by slow and unreliable internet connections.”

While this news is welcome for Benalla, Dr Haines said more regional towns should be declared business fibre zones.

“Benalla is a little city capable of doing big things, but there are many towns across Indi that also need better internet connections to achieve their business goals,” Dr Haines said.

“As many businesses move away from cities like Melbourne due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be more demand for fast and reliable internet in regional Australia. The Government needs to invest to meet that demand.”

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