Residents in Armidale, NSW got first NBN hook up today.
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It has been rated, slated and everything in between. But now it seems the $36bn national broadband network is getting its first push on mainland and rural New South Wales is first stop off.
Tasmania has been switched on to the fibre optic services last year, although take up is said to be just 15 per cent, to date.
The NSW city is one of five first release sites – other locations to get the NBN treatment include interstate towns of Kiama/Minnamurra Downs, as well as Townsville (Qld) Brunswick (Vic) and Willunga (SA).
Prime Minister Julia Gillard was present for the “the switch-on of superfast fibre optic broadband services to selected Armidale residents” at a ceremony held this morning.
Broadband speeds are said to be “up to 100 Megabits per second.”
The fastest speeds currently available are ADSL2+ at 24 megabits per second, offered by the likes of Telstra and TPG, which appears to be far slower than NBN promised speeds.
However, the speeds will depend on a number of factors including the retail broadband plan chosen by users, as well as equipment and their in-premises connection, NBN Co admit.
Residents are progressively being connected to the network in trials by iiNet, Internode, iPrimus and Telstra so it remains to be seems if one ISP offers faster speeds than another.
However, commercial services are to kick off in September and providers including
AAPT, AARNet, Comscentre, Exetel, Nextgen Networks, Optus, Platform
Networks, SkyMesh and Vodaphone will be offering services,
communications minister Stephen Conroy said today.
Several Armidale customers have been trialling the service over the past month. There has been 87 per cent take up of the service so far, Conroy also revealed today.
This phase is “a critical step” in building the network, it said today.
“Today marks a significant milestone in our national rollout. Residents in Armidale will be the first mainland Australians to experience the tremendous benefits of this vital communications infrastructure that will serve homes, businesses, schools and hospitals for decades to come,” Mike Quigley, NBN Co Chief Executive.
“It represents the collective efforts of many people, including our construction partner Silcar Communications, Armidale Dumaresq Council and the University of New England as well as business and community groups, local residents and the retail telecommunications companies.”
Work on the NBN began in Armidale in August last year.