By Paul Hemsley
Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Stephen Conroy’s race to plug-in as many towns as possible to the National Broadband Network (NBN) before the election has continued unabashed, with newbie Canberra satellite city of Gungahlin the latest to see the fibre optic light.
Gungahlin is among the earliest suburbs in Canberra to be plugged into the NBN rollout with many other towns and suburbs scheduled to be connected to the NBN before 30 June 2015 in its three year construction plan.
About 4000 homes and businesses in the ACT will be able to connect to the NBN and will be joining more than 34,000 Australians who are already connected. The government has already commenced work on another 19,500 premises in Gungahlin and surrounding suburbs.
These suburbs include Civic, Palmerston and Amaroo, which are due to be completed by 2015.
The federal government has also introduced a Digital Hub and Enterprise to coincide with the rollout of the NBN. The Digital Hub is meant to provide “expert advice” to individuals, small businesses and not-for-profit organisations about how to properly use the NBN.
According to NBN Co, seven internet service providers are ready to sign residences and businesses to the NBN including Telstra, iiNet, iPrimus, TransACT, Westnet, Internode and DevotedNBN.
The launch of the connection to the NBN in Gungahlin was demonstrated through a high definition video link up between children at Harrison School to communicate with overseas students at Chitose Senior High School in Hokkaido, Japan.
Senator Conroy brought the federal government’s “Australia in the Asian Century” agenda to the forefront by calling the connection between local and Japanese students an example of why the NBN’s superfast speeds are “essential if Australia is to achieve its goals of embracing the Asian Century”.
"Like Australia, Japan understands the importance of future proofing their broadband infrastructure through fibre to the home technology."
This is in reference to the Australia in the Asian Century white paper that the federal government released in October 2012, which detailed how Australia should adapt to Asia’s projected economic and cultural dominance in the 21st century.
Federal Senator for the ACT, Kate Lundy said the rollout of the NBN is “really ramping up the ACT”.
"By building the NBN, the Government is ensuring that in the areas of education, health care, small business, and agriculture, Australia is not left behind the rest of the world," Senator Lundy said.
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