NBN – Who Misses Out?

By Mike Wheeler

  • Over 3.5 million businesses/houses to be connected
  • 16,000 jobs needed to help with connection
  • More roll out announcements in 12 months’ time

The Government has released the latest stage of its NBN rollout that will take up to 2015 to complete. In a media briefing this morning, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Minister for Broadband and Communications Stephen Conroy and NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley outlined the plan ahead.

The said that over 3.5 million homes, businesses, schools and hospitals would be hooked up by the end of 2015. Numbers of households/businesses by state are:

  • NSW 1,010,700
  • Victoria 691,600
  • Queensland 678,600
  • Western Australia 429,200
  • South Australia 327,300
  • ACT 135,300
  • Northern Territory 65,200
  • Tasmania 209,100

Minister Conroy was at pains to point out that electoral boundaries were not taken into consideration when it was decided what suburbs would get the NBN. He said 67 Labour, 61 Coalition and 6 crossbench electorates would be getting the service. He also made it clear that the Coalition would get rid of the roll out if they were elected to government next year.

When queried about whether they should be doing a better job at promoting the uses that the NBN will have once it is active and therefore put pressure on the Coalition to continue with the plan should they come to power in the next federal election, Prime Minister Gillard was adamant that her government was already doing a good job.

“I think people do understand the possibilities of the future [of the NBN],” said Prime Minister Gillard. “[Their] levels of understanding will vary across the community. But when I talk to business people they’re very aware of the economic benefits and possibilities of the broadband network. “

Yet Minister Conroy seemed to disagree. “There is a greater need for community education,” he said. “I think you’ll find over the past couple of days the NBN has started an advertising campaign on radio and if you wait for the weekend papers you may discover that there’s more advertising about to take place.”

When asked about why one suburb was getting the NBN but an adjacent one wasn’t, Mr Quigley said it was more down to logistics. “We do sites in modules. Each module is about 2000-2500 premises…you may find there are constraints in various areas depending if the links are available back to a certain place," he said. “It could be down to straight engineering. Often we don’t want to do too many places in the same area concurrently because otherwise we’d congest the streets. As you know we’ll be putting fibre through some of the Telstra ducts, but it means we’ll have trucks in the street and we can’t have that going on everywhere at once.”

Both Mr Quigley and Senator Conroy also said that the roll out was ongoing and that in 12 months’ time there would be an announcement of more communities that would be getting connected in 2016.

So are you getting the NBN over the next three years? Check it out here.

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