A TECHNOLOGY company wants to transform part of a disused Golden Square car yard into a cutting edge facility keeping Bendigo's internet connected in the event of any catastrophic failures elsewhere.
Edge Centres says a telecommunications facility on a prominent High Street site would also boost the city's internet capacity amid surging demand for services.
It needs the City of Greater Bendigo's approval to transform land that once housed Wayne Wilsons Autos into one of 18 facilities stretching from Cairns to Hobart.
Edge Centres founder Jon Eaves said regional Australia lacked the internet infrastructure needed to fuel businesses' increasing reliance on data.
"Our goal is 'bridge the digital divide' and the project would be one of the facilities that would help us do that," Mr Eaves said.
He believes regional Australia has two years before that demand surges higher because companies need more data for increasingly advanced computer programs and data analysis.
Consumers in regional towns are already demanding greater access to clouds of data and need better connectivity, Mr Eaves said.
Edge Centres believes Golden Square centre could also be the answer for 80,000 premises in the event of catastrophic failures at the city's only exchange, which is located in central Bendigo.
"In most regional towns, exchanges are a single point for failure," Mr Eaves said.
"Should something ever happen to an exchange, a town will lose all communications."
Edge Centres' council application suggests the facility could one day connect to a nearby communications tower.
The application flags the possibility of another company building a tower within 500 metres of Edge Centres' facility in the future, though that would be part of a separate planning process.
More news: Greater Bendigo sees spike in COVID-19 cases
It also raises a potential planning complication over the land that Edge Centre wants its facility to sit on.
The Bendigo council's plans for Golden Square have been made with the assumption that businesses on that stretch of High Street would be mostly retail stores.
Edge Centres has acknowledged its facility would not be in keeping with that hope, but argued their proposal would keep with the council's hopes of transforming it into a "thriving, attractive and well-connected [place] for people and for doing business".
The company argues the telecommunications facility would increase internet speeds and make it more reliable, which would in turn make the area more attractive for doing business.
Edge Centres' architects have designed the building to be set back as much as possible from the street and security fencing would be located to soften its impact.
"A visually interesting logo and pattern treatment has been used in the design of the carport to enhance the appearance of the building," the company said in its planning application.
"The proposed colours, materials and fences are considered to be appropriate for a commercial area, particularly having regard to the existing fencing on the site and the previous use of the site as a used car yard.
"The proposed facility will not be visible from residential areas surrounding the site due to the height of the existing perimeter fencing on the site."
The facility would not emit radio emissions, so building controls centred on health were not relevant, Edge Centres said.
The facility would also generate no noise, emission or light. One car park would be needed so that a technician could visit once a month or so.
Bendigo's council is currently considering the application.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: