NAPOLEONS residents were meant to be among the first to get the National Broadband Network's fixed wireless internet. Now they're set to wait another three years, to access a slower service.
NBN Co has decided to cancel plans for a wireless broadband tower in Napoleons after Golden Plains Shire Council knocked back its development application last month on the grounds of visual impact - the first such rejection in Australia.
In a letter to be sent to Napoleons residents today, NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley said the company had tried to accommodate concerns about the tower's visual impact - offering to plant vegetation around it and paint it to blend in with the nearby environment - to no avail.
"After months of planning and consultation with the council and the community, our application to build the facility was rejected," he said.
"As a consequence of the council's decision, NBN Co is now unable to meet our original plan to place you among the first in Australia to receive high-speed broadband."
Mr Quigley said the company would provide residents with broadband eventually, but it would most likely be a slower satellite service not available for several years.
"In all likelihood we will have to work towards delivering high-speed broadband to the Napoleons area via NBN Co's Long Term Satellite Service, which is expected to be operational by 2015," he said.
The satellite service is planned to offer speeds of up to 12Mbps, slower than fixed wireless and much slower than the fibre-optic network being rolled out in urban areas.
A spokeswoman for NBN Co said satellite dishes would be required to use the service, and would be supplied and installed free of charge.
Golden Plains mayor Geraldine Frantz vowed to fight the decision.
"Council will not be bullied into accepting a less than satisfactory solution when NBN Co has not explored the range of appropriate alternatives," she said.
"Council has advised NBN Co on numerous occasions that there are alternative locations within Napoleons that achieve NBN requirements whilst reducing amenity impacts on adjoining landowners and the community.
"NBN's failure to consider or consult with council or the Napoleons community on these alternative locations shows complete disregard for the co-operative approach required to build a strong and effective National Broadband Network."
Golden Plains Shire has received eight planning permit applications for NBN Co towers, six of which have been approved and one rejected. One application is pending.
NBN Co’s fixed wireless services are currently going live in other areas around Ballarat. Last week 1500 residents near Creswick and Ross Creek were sent an information pack about how to make use of the service.
Earlier this month Moorabool Shire became the second council to reject plans for an NBN Co fixed wireless tower, which was planned for Yendon.