ARARAT residents will be among the next group of Wimmera people able to connect to the National Broadband Network.
Construction has started in the rural city, with network subcontractors due to connect the area to high-speed broadband in the next few weeks.
Ararat will receive fibre to the node technology.
Residents and businesses will be able to order services through the network from the middle of the year.
NBN local media advisor Kasey Ellison said broadband network construction was also continuing in Warracknabeal, Nhill, Stawell and St Arnaud.
She said the work in these four towns and Ararat would allow 10,000 homes and businesses to connect to the network.
“More than 9000 homes and businesses in the Wimmera region are already able to connect to the network using fixed wireless technology,” she said.
“An additional 620 premises near Dimboola are expected to be able to take advantage of services over NBN’s fixed wireless technology in the second half of 2019.
“Construction is expected to commence in the coming months to connect about 500 homes and businesses in Edenhope to the broadband access network.
“It is expected they will be able to order a service over the network by the end of the year.”
Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said broadband connection would bring new opportunities for businesses, schools and residents, offering access to cloud-based accounting software, immersive online learning, and easier connectivity with family and friends.
NBN is also planning a trial to help people with the cost of updating monitored medical alarms when connecting to the broadband network.
Most alarms work through a landline phone connection. The switch to the broadband network means landline phones will not work in power blackouts, and hence the alarms might not be compatible with the network at all times.
The company plans to work with 400 alarm users during the trial period before announcing a support program in the second half of this year.
NBN was unable to confirm if any Wimmera customers would be included in the trial.
The company has encouraged people with alarms to sign up to the NBN Medical Alarm Register.
NBN Co’s chief customer officer Brad Whitcomb said the company was committed to working with the healthcare industry and phone and internet providers to ensure alarm users were aware of what they needed to do to switch to the broadband network.
“Our trial will help us better understand the systems and processes needed to work with medical alarm providers and end-users to deliver the new assistance program,” he said.
“We are urging everyone who has a medical alarm device – or family members, carers and friends of those people – to add their details to our Medical Alarm Register so one of our team members can reach out to provide them with assistance and guidance about how to find out if their existing alarms will be compatible with the NBN access network.”
Mr Whitcomb said people could register at nbnco.com.au or by calling 1800 227 300.