By Paul Hemsley
Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy has rolled the National Broadband Network (NBN) into the Queensland regional area of Toowoomba.
The Toowoomba region is the latest area of Queensland to connect to the NBN after its first fibre optic cable was installed in October 2012.
The rollout of the NBN in Toowoomba follows disruptions to individual mobile sites in the area as well as Brisbane, Ipswich and the Gold Coast due to power outages caused by the recent flash flooding in Queensland.
Mr Conroy has urged residents in the Toowoomba region to hook up to the NBN as 1,700 homes and businesses are able to join the 26,000 local homes and businesses that have already had work commenced or completed.
The NBN is scheduled to commence or complete fibre construction for over 678,000 homes and businesses across Queensland and to over 3.5 million homes and businesses nationwide, which is a third of Australia’s premises.
Mr Conroy said people in Toowoomba are the first in southern Queensland to access the benefits of the NBN’s “superfast” fibre broadband.
“The NBN provides faster and more reliable broadband than the ageing copper network and is affordable. The cost of an NBN service is similar to what people pay today, but for a much superior service,” Mr Conroy said.
According to Mr Conroy, the Toowoomba region has “strong” retail competition because of six retailers offering NBN packages including iiNet, Telstra, Internode, iPrimus, TransACT and Westnet.
Toowoomba’s civic leaders including Mayor of Toowoomba Regional Council, Paul Antonio and President of the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Andrew Wielandt have joined Mr Conroy in his push for local residents to connect to the NBN.
Mr Wielandt said the NBN is potentially a game-changer for the regional economy.
Mr Antonio said it is a “special privilege” to be the first city in South East Queensland to connect to the NBN.
"We're excited about the growth and innovation opportunities it brings to our local businesses and industry, but also the flexibility it allows our students to study online and keep in touch with family, particularly those attending boarding school here,” Mr Antonio said.
He said it's a “significant milestone” for the community.
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