By Paul Hemsley and Julian Bajkowski
The future of the National Broadband Network may by no means yet be a certainty, however the avalanche of regional rollouts announcements are.
In his eighteenth press release of the year on the massive optical fibre and fast wireless build, Federal Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy has teamed up with Labor Senator for Queensland, Claire Moore, to spruik the benefits of NBN connectivity to Gympie and the rain sodden Sunshine Coast.
The Queensland tub-thumping effort comes just a week after the Coalition’s Communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull used the Kickstart technology conference in Maroochydore to lambast the government’s big investment and execution of the rollout – but pulled up short of Coalition Leader Tony Abbot’s pledge to pull the new infrastructure-up.
Mr Turnbull was particularly critical that the new fibre network was not connected to the Coolum industrial estate and said it would not be around 3 years.
However Senator Moore highlighted the wireless benefits of the NBN in Queensland areas receiving new service and said that people who don’t live in Brisbane can start accessing services that can “really help the tyranny of distance”.
She said such services included telehealth and distance education using high-definition video conferencing.
“Like water and electricity, the Gillard Government sees fast broadband as an essential utility that should be made available to all Australians,” Senator Moore said.
The Queensland areas being connected will have wireless NBN reception at speeds of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 5 Mbps upload.
Regional Queensland area has for decades been regarded as one of Australia’s broadband and mobile reception badlands because of the erratic quality of services and years of underinvestment by major telecommunications providers.
Meanwhile the publicity from the NBN rollout in Victoria has continued in apace with the connection of Bacchus Marsh was announced late last week, the first town in regional Victoria to be connected to the NBN, with 200 homes and businesses provided the opportunity to connect.
Another 6,500 homes and businesses in Bacchus Marsh will be able to come online to the NBN over the next few months according to Senator Conroy, joining the 108,000 other homes and businesses across Victoria that have had construction either commenced or completed.
For Bacchus Marsh, there are presently four service providers that are ready to sign up premises to the NBN including Telstra, Spintel, Exetel and Optus. The federal government expects more providers to join in.
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