By Paul Hemsley
Federal Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy has continued the electoral push for the National Broadband Network (NBN) in Western Sydney amid Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s controversial election campaign operation stationed in the western suburb of Rooty Hill.
Senator Conroy drew attention to the fact that NBN fibre construction has been ramping up across Western Sydney as construction has already commenced for 80,000 homes and businesses in the area including Blacktown, Homebush, Lidcombe, Riverstone and Richmond.
The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has focused particular attention to New South Wales over the past week as Senator Conroy inspected the opening of an NBN-ready exchange in the coastal city of Newcastle.
The federal government’s completion of the NBN-ready exchange has kicked off the rollout of the fibre linkage in Newcastle, which is expected to begin later this year in Newcastle, Hamilton and surrounding suburbs for about 9,700 homes.
Senator Conroy said the completion of the exchange is an important piece of NBN-ready infrastructure and another step that will support the rollout across the city and the wider region.
“Once the rollout is complete, the NBN-ready exchange will link approximately 135,000 homes and business across the region to the NBN fibre network," Senator Conroy said.
According to Senator Conroy, construction will have commenced or be completed for 85,400 homes and businesses in the area including Charlestown, Hamilton, Newcastle, Mayfield, New Lambton and Tarro by mid-2015.
Federal Member for Newcastle, Sharon Grierson also visited the exchange with Senator Conroy, saying that the NBN will “revolutionise” how residents work, access healthcare and education and do business.
Ms Grierson said businesses that previously had to be set up in capital cities can now be set up anywhere because of the ability to send and receive big files “almost instantly”.
She said this means opportunities and jobs for people in Newcastle and the surrounding areas.
“The NBN is also affordable. It is available for prices that are similar or less than what people are paying now on the ageing copper network, with the NBN providing a superior, modern service.”
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