Bringing Gove Together

Internet Availability

Telstra is the one and only supplier of hardware for ADSL and wired internet in Nhulunbuy.
Currently there is a problem getting ADSL from Telstra Bigpond as there is a shortage of bandwidth between Gove and the national network.

Telstra representatives from Telstra Country Wide have assured me that there is a plan in the works to improve this situation, however until then the only options are slow dialup internet and the very expensive Telstra Next G Wireless Broadband (Mobile Broadband).

Calculations show that for an equivelant speed and usage (1500kbps, 25GB) it would cost over $3000 per month on Next G wireless if you use the same amount. However Telstra offer plans up to a measily 3GB for ~$115 per month.

For more up to date information and pricing please check Telstra in the Gove Guide.

Does anyone else have more information or comments about the situation?
Check this out on the National Broadband Network and remote comunities in the NT:

Maybe if the CMS has petition add-ons for a petition to our potential future MPs to make sure Gove is not left out?

Even though I shouldn't care being one of the lucky ones with ADSL :-).

michael's picture
Hey eHorse,
Once the site has a few more users and interest and debate on issues around town is established I will be creating petitions for each of the major issues around town.

Yes, it is going to cost a fair bit to extend the ADSL bandwidth to Nhulunbuy. I have already spoken to Telstra Country Wide, and there is a proposal in to do just that. However Telstra will not be losing money, as the ABC news article implied. Nhulunbuy is a high income town, and the reason there are no ADSL ports left is because of such high demand for the highest broadband plans.

I firmly believe that Telstra will profit from performing the upgrades.

Does anyone have any information about the dates which this upgrade is going ahead?
The petition idea sounds great.
Yeh, I reckon that Telstra have got to be one of the worst ever communications companies. I have to fork out $160 per month for a measley 5GB satellite internet connection.

While it is true that Telstra is the supplier of the infrastructure in the NT, I find that many people are totally ignorant of the fact that there are many other ISPs (Internet Service Providers) who provide landline adsl services. Try using the Broadband Choice tool at Of course they are using Telstras lines and exchanges but they can often offer cheaper and better landline adsl plans and far better customer service. Like a number of other folks in town I use Internode ( and get a much better service and price than I ever got with Bigpong. If u are unfortunate enuff to be with Bigpong u can do what is called a "fast churn" and change to another ISP and get a better deal.
Unfortunately Bigpong is the only provider of Wireless broadband here in town (and don't they know it and charge accordingly) and many people have pair-gain wiring in their phone lines making landline adsl unconnectable. This is pure profiteering by Telstra. It was a mistake to sell Telstra off to the highest bidder. Now we, the isolated, are at the mercy of their need to impress shareholders. And where better to price-gouge than on people who have no other options. Telstra may be "looking" at improving connections to Gove (and other isolated communities) with fibre-optic or whatever but don't hold your breath. This cash-cow will be milked for all it's worth before we see any improvements.

2nd Peter Chapter 1 Verse 4

G-Day to all.
Sorry this will be a long post but it will be well worth the read.
Just to bring you all up to date on the subject of ADSL in Nhulunbuy.
I do a lot of work in the field of radio communications and have a good understanding in the infrastructure of data going in and coming out of Nhulunbuy , currently the Troppo site "troppo scatter hill" if you have been here as long as me has a 338 MHz bandwidth link to the rest of the world. This is somewhat close to the bandwidth in Mbit. If you do the maths that is the same as 225 people downloading at their full 1.5 Mbit (I know you can get higher but this is an average I get around 5 Mbit on an 8 Mbit contract) and the network is swamped. Then take into the account this is also used for Phone services and ISDN as well.
Now some good news.
Currently I am working with an aboriginal organisation that needs to be able to communicate over a large area and the only reliable way to do this is to setup a VHF radio network using Telstra towers.
Now what comes into play is why don't we have a fiberoptic cable link to Gove rather than a radio link. Well it boils down to who is going to pay the landowners to rip up there soil to lay the cable, I don't know about you but if someone wanted rip up my land and lay a cable they are going to have to pay me for it. That is just the way the whole world works.
Now if Telstra wanted to access that land there must be a trade off, remember Telstra is a commercial company now why would I give them something for free or at least not give me something in return.
It will happen but Telstra will have to agree to a few things. The most important, and you may agree or disagree I don't care, It is someone’s land and you want to lay a cable through it, well you have to pay. The 2nd thing comes down to an agreement, Telstra wants to do this and they need a radio system that works over a large region, well then allow them access to the radio towers that provide the existing links to rest of the world for their radio network.
Answer to fibre in Gove is YES it will happen. As far as I know the route has been chosen already
I have a funny (NOT) story to tell you here. When Mobile Phones first started in Gove 11 + years ago our fibre link to from the Mt Saunders tower to the Copper cable down the street ran through the trees and every year a fire went through Mt Saunders we lost Mobile Phones for a couple of days. DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT COST JUST TO DIG UP THAT SECTION AND LAY A CABLE? I won't tell you as I don't want to get in hot water.
Back to cost of broadband in Nhulunbuy.
There is a company/Person (Sorry I forgot your name if you read this) who runs Morningside Electrical who has asked for access to the radio town located on Mt Saunders (our 33 mtr small tower outside the fenced complex) to setup a Wi-Fi network for users to access content on his 4 tera bite server. There is no reason why this could not be used to allow people to access the net as well, all that is needed to do is everyone who has ADSL to share a small amount of their ADSL to other users, of course it would be a user pays system but it would solve the HUGE NEXT G cost, unfortunately the range of this system would be limited to the township. As the range of Wi-Fi is limited to the money you want to spend on you Aerial of Dish, Max I have done is 10 KM using 2 x 18 Dbi dishes, and I got a 5.5 Mbit connection but it was steady.
Again this is limited as Wi-Fi has a bandwidth of only 54 Mbit for some and 108 Mbit if you have N based wireless network (and I have never got this yet)
Even if it was limited to a 256k download speed and a max of 3 Gig a month it would be cheaper than NextG which is great for surfing the net.
Anyway I have lived here toooooooo long and things happen slowly, but they do happen.
Anyway I think I have dribbled on long enough.

I recently purchased a new laptop with a Tel$tra next g wireless PCI card modem. After returning to Gove I decided to install and go about commencing a connection to bigpond via next g (which reminds me of another epic failure around town with a highlighted "G" in its name), when I discovered the price! I still can't comprehend the hefty fee for a service that is likely to be as inconsistent as the mobile coverage that presently exists in town. So I went about finding alternatives, I looked into satellite, setting up a wireless community network and even running some sneaky copper from the G3 (though shalt not be spoken!) ... sorry, Gove Village site. Then I happened to see a media release from Optus announcing its plans to upgrade its wireless network to reach 96% of the population, the same number it supplies GSM coverage too. I made a few enquires to the Optus Northern Area managers office who assured me that Nhulunbuy is inline to have it's current GSM services upgraded to 3G by the end of the year. This means considerably cheaper plans then Tel$tra however it could herald the same problems currently facing SE Queensland rollout of Optus 3G. Anyway point of the story; does anyone want a cheap unused next G PCI type modem, $150?

OK I like to put my neck on the line.

Thanks for the head up on Optus 3G, great news.

Just for anyone considering which provider to use.

1st If you live in town and want a cheaper service with Mobile and PSTN (Fixed phone line).
Go any other carrier than Telstra, they will for 99% of the population come up cheeper.


2nd I go to Telstra for Quality of service. Even when I don't want my nextG phone to work .I 'm still in range (BUGGAR). 

I don't use "Bigpond"  I use "TelstraDirect" ADSL with fixed IP. They will actually be able to tell you which card in which exchange has failed causing my problems. Yes it cost a bit more but I can see what is going wrong in realtime.

Sum it up.

Optus would have to install another couple towers, other  than the one they have to convert me to there poor service when it comes to anything wireless.

ADSL, Well Telstra/Bigpond own the infrastructure, If you don't mind the odd drop out , have a look at Internode, I hear good things about them.

P.S. I do feel for anyone without ADSL. I share mine with 3 Houses. Get together with a friend and share cost.


Telstra also now has a 10 GB wireless plan for $129 per month.

We moved into Gove about 2 weeks ago and applied for ADSL - sure enough no ports were available. The next option was the wireless internet, as my GF uses the phone a lot so dialup is useless to us.

I heard about the pre-paid wireless kits through telstra website a few weeks ago. Anyway, we were looking in the curios shop next to the butchers called blue ribbon or something, and he had a heap of the pre-paid kits, which cost $149. I bought $100 credit which is good for 6 GB, as it's the best value. Apparently you have to use it within a month but that's not going to be a problem for us. 

The modem looks like a usb memory stick. You have to first call telstra and get it activated, then when you plug it in, it will install the software and then you just hit the connect button. I haven't had a problem with it so far, and we get up to ~ 80 KBps download rate.

It's a better option than going on a contract/plan, as no one seems to know exactly when the fiber optic cable will arrive, and it's cheaper than the Bigpond plans anyway.

Rio-Tinto helpdesk employee, reporting in :)

Considering the number of users in the area sitting on a high-income bracket, I can see a potential business case for a WiSP in the Gove area.

Given the fact that Telstra/Alcan are building a fiber into the area, it's going to be cheap(er) to source either a dark wavelenth, TWE (Telstra Wholesale Ethernet) or Telstra IP service into the area.

You could action this by pulling a Layer 2 circuit back to Adelaide, where bandwidth can be purchased relativley cheaply (~$200-$250Mb) and hauling it to Gove, but chances are it would be cheaper (especially in smaller volumes) to purchase IP transit directly from Telstra.

Does anyone know what services will be presented on each end of the fiber? WIll it be 10GiE or SDH? Will there be (D)WDM gear on each end of the fiber for MUX?

Feel free to contact me on if you've got ideas - I'll be watching this forum quite closely - it's exciting to see a bunch of switched on, passionate people who work for the same company as myself!

"currently the Troppo site "troppo scatter hill" if you have been here as long as me has a 338 MHz bandwidth link to the rest of the world. This is somewhat close to the bandwidth in Mbit. "

I was under the impression Nullumbuy was fed by one of the standard Telstra 34Mb PDH (480 timeslot) E3 point-to-point transcievers? I wasn't even aware that you could get that kind of throughput over such a low fequency link - especially given the nature of troposcatter.

Here in Brisbane, I struggle to get more than 155Mb (SDH) over anything less than 1Ghz (not that I'd want to deal with anything less than 1Ghz, the ACMA are punitive and I'm not made of money...)

Just found an article at

"The troposcatter system was decommissioned between Darwin and Gove over 15 years ago (actually much longer I think) and was replaced with a multi-hop microwave system. The system between Gove and Alyangula was replaced about 13 years ago (with a 6 hop microwave system that starts in Gove and heads south to Numbulwar). The tropo antennas are still at some of the sites because it costs too much to pull them down I'm guessing."

By looking at the ACMA licencing for this district, we can see a number of licences for the Telstra site.

There are two diverse frequencies.


Each about 20Mhz wide, which is normal for point-to-point PDH gear.

If we look at this site though we can see a number of licences in the 500mhz region, which would sound about right for a troposcatter.

Just some food for thought...

michael's picture

Telstra has announced that the Fibre Optic link to Nhulunbuy is now physically complete and they are installing and testing equipment so as to finally supply the town with more ADSL connections and new ADSL2 connections.

Theoretically you should be able to get up to 20Mbps on the new internet connection, which is faster than most urban centres.

The new plans are available already on preorder through the Darwin Telstra shop.
It is expected that we should be hooked up mid December.

Great News!!

Also check out other internet service providers if you are looking for cheap deals. iiNet, TPG, and Netspace all offer some great plans for cheap. Telstra Bigpond is quite expensive, but it is more reliable for connecting and speed.

Thx for the heads up Michael. I was wondering if it had finished being laid yet.
Looks like Internode will be offering ADSL2+ via Telstra Wholesale as well which is good news.,24897,24710613-15306,00.html
Even tho it will be Telstra's infrastructure at least I won't actually have to deal with Telstra for any service issues.
I wonder what sort of an upgrade will occur at the exchange as far as increasing port availability. Would be great for every1 who wants a landline ADSL connection to be able to get one.
Any1 know what the new capacity of the fibre cable will  be ?


2nd Peter Chapter 1 Verse 4

michael's picture

Please take the time to read this. It will only take a minute and it WILL affect YOU!

The Federal Government is planning to force all Australian servers to filter internet traffic and block any material the Government deems ‘inappropriate’. Under the plan, the Government can add any ‘unwanted’ site to a secret blacklist.

Testing has already begun on systems that will slow our internet by up to 87%, make it more expensive, miss the vast majority of inappropriate content and accidentally block up to 1 in 12 legitimate sites. Our children deserve better protection - and that won't be achieved by wasting millions on this deeply flawed system.

We are moving to Gove in June/July this year and wondering how things are going with broadband in town.

We are currently with Telstra with everything (internet, home phone & mobiles) but would love to get rid of them!! Dont want to sign up to any contracts here only to find that particular providers are not available in Gove.

Can anyone point me in the right direction? In particular, is Optus available for all 3 of the above?



michael's picture

It seems as though Telstra is dragging its feet on this issue.

The optical link which connects Nhulunbuy to the rest of the world is installed and has been for some time now, however as I understand it, it is not fully active as yet. There seem to be varying reports of people either being accepted or rejected when applying for ADSL and ADSL 2+.

However the fact remains that almost any other provider can connect you within 2 days of calling up.
If you want fast internet the best and cheapest options are:

ADSL 2 (20,000kbps)

Internode - Home Two+ (Website)
25GB - $89.95pm
40GB - 109.95pm
No excess charges

Telstra - Bigpond Liberty ADSL 2 (Website)
25GB (Uploads Counted, equivalent to 15GB) - $99.95 11% more expensive for 40% less downloads
Be aware if you do not select a liberty plan you may get VERY high excess charges of $153 per GB.

Telstra - Wireless Bigpond Liberty (Website)
5GB (Uploads counted, equivalent of 3GB) - $89.95 (Same price for 88% Less downloads)
10GB (Uploads counted, equivalent of 5GB) - $129.95 (44% more expensive for 80% Less downloads)
Be aware if you do not select a liberty plan you may get VERY high excess charges of $256 per GB.
Portable if you buy the laptop adapter.
Assessed to be not suitable in Nhulunbuy.
Many service dropouts, slow speeds and very expensive for downloads.
Note that the download speeds experienced on the wireless service are significantly lower than those quoted by Telstra.
A test of the service indicates speeds of around 256kbps - 512kbps (Slow ADSL speed)

ADSL 1 (1500 kpbs)

Internode - Home Standard (Website)
10GB - $49.95
20GB - $59.95
40GB - $69.95
No excess charges

Telstra - Bigpond Liberty ADSL 1 (Website)
12 GB (Uploads counted, equivalent to 6GB) - $69.95 (40% More expensive, 40% less downloads)
25GB (Uploads counted, equivalent to 15GB) - $79.95 (33% More expensive, 25% less downloads)
Be aware if you do not select a liberty plan you may get VERY high excess charges of $153 per GB.

ADSL no longer offered through the Telstra network due to Telstra charging very high wholesale prices.

Assessment Info
This assessment is based on information from the Telstra, Internode and iiNet websites.
Comparison between plans was based on equivalent downloads, or as close as possible.
Excess downloads are only applicable to Telstra 'non-liberty' plans, but was highlighted here as it can cost thousands of dollars in excess charges in a single month which is not explained on the Telstra website adequately.
The assessment of Telstra Wireless broadband was performed as a normal customer using the Telstra supplied hardware.
Although this assessment seems biased, it is only based on facts which you can find by going digging in the Telstra website fine print. Yes I do believe Telstra is ripping us off, someone try to prove me wrong!

Thanks for that Michael, you certainly have done your homework!! Telstra seems to have the monopoly over us all wherever we are!!

I will definitely look into internode.

What about home phones and mobiles though? Can you recommend any great deals (or comparisons!)



I have read this thread and wondering if things have changed with providers. My husband as accepted a Job offer and starts in October. We are wondering what the best way to keep incontact with him from home till we move in December. We Live in New Zealand and have 3 young children that will be missing their Dad while he is away. We were looking at getting a Lap top and a mobile Broadband? He will be staying at Gove House as he will be flyin and fly out till the end of the year.


michael's picture

Nhulunbuy and arnhem land has been confirmed as a part of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

As we all know living in a remote area very fast internet is almost essential as it allows for interaction with friends and family living far away. It is also an essential tool to deliver the educational and medical services which we would not normally get access to.

I encourage everyone to support ANY political party which will proceed with the NBN. It is essential for remote and regional Australia.

To answer your question we have ADSL2+ here. Internode has been connecting customers for around 2 years now. Telstra is just starting to roll it out to their customers and now have some reasonably competitive packages which rolls your home phone into one bill, however if you look into it, although it looks cheaper than other companies, it is about on par as Telstra charge for both uploads and downloads unlike all other companies.

Good internet is now available in Nhulunbuy, but ADSL2+ is still lacking when it comes to large scale service delivery, which is why the confirmed NBN link in Arnhem land is such a big deal.

funnily enough there were plans and approval for fibre optic when the gas pipeline route was surveyed seven or eight years ago.  Apparently it could have been laid beside or in the pipeline.  Those fires on Nhulun that affected the mobile service were deliberately lit and the mine finally got approval for an underground cable to protect the service.  Hope it went ahead.