By Paul Hemsley
The federal government has started installing National Broadband Network (NBN) fibre optic cable into the Western Sydney suburb of Penrith in an effort boost business and employment in the area.
The rollout of the NBN in Penrith is the latest in the federal government’s nationwide project to install fibre optic cables underground to replace copper communications infrastructure.
Penrith’s connection to the NBN follows the New South Wales ‘first release’ sites of Armidale, Minnamurra and Kiama Downs.
The town of Riverstone, which is approximately 20 kilometres northeast of Penrith, was announced as part of the ‘second release’ phase to be connected to the NBN.
The federal government is presently constructing NBN infrastructure across Western Sydney for 68,000 homes and businesses, with more than 9,100 locations connected in Penrith and its surrounding suburbs including Jamisontown, South Penrith, Londonderry and Agnes Banks.
NBN Co expects the connection of these suburbs to the NBN will be completed during 2013.
Construction for the NBN will have commenced or been completed for 216,800 homes and businesses in Western Sydney and one million premises across NSW by mid-June 2015, the government says.
Federal Member for Lindsay, David Bradbury said the NBN will be available for similar prices to what people are presently paying on the “ageing copper network”, but will “provide a far superior and more reliable service”.
“The ability to send and receive big files almost instantly will mean businesses that previously had to base themselves in the city will be able to set up right here in Penrith and bring more jobs to our region,” Mr Bradbury said.
Acting Communications Minister, Senator Kim Carr, said people living in these areas will be able to start connecting to the NBN in the next few months.
“[They will] be among the first Australians to access the NBN's super-fast broadband, bringing benefits for education, healthcare and local businesses,” Senator Carr said.
NBN Co spokesman, Darren Rudd, said every home, school and workplace in Australia is planned to be connected to the NBN within the next decade.
Mr Rudd said this connection will be made with a combination of fibre, wireless and satellite technologies.
Mr Bradbury made the NBN rollout in Penrith an electoral issue by claiming the result of the next federal election will determine whether or not all local residents will be provided access to the high speed affordable broadband of the NBN.
“The only thing stopping the area from having the NBN is the Liberals. The choice is simple – support Labor and you'll get the NBN; support the Liberals and you won't,” he said.
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