Twelve internet service providers (ISPs) have signed up to deliver broadband services to customers on the National Broadband Network (NBN) in its first mainland release sites, NBN Co has announced today.
The first five release sites in Armidale, Kiama Downs, Willunga, Townsville and Brunswick for the roll-out of the Federal Government's $37.5 billion network are expected to have services up and running by September, with limited trial services set to go live later this month.
Optus, AAPT, AARNet, Comscentre, Nextgen Networks, Platform Networks and SkyMesh will join Internode, iiNet, iPrimus, Exetel and Telstra — companies that already offer NBN services in Tasmania — as NBN retail service providers in the first mainland release sites.
A noticeable absentee from the list is one of Australia's largest telcos — TPG.
The ISPs that already offer NBN services will be able to connect mainland customers as soon as the network goes live; however, the other ISPs will have to go through NBN Co's "on-boarding" process to configure their networks and systems to connect to the NBN.
NBN Co's head of product development Jim Hassell said that Armidale will be the first up, with ISPs trialling services in the near future.
"This is great news for residents in Armidale and will mean that a limited number of Armidale residents will be the first on mainland Australia to access services over the NBN on a trial basis," Hassell said.
"The trial will extend to the other first release sites in the months following to eventually cover several hundred end-users. This testing phase is a critical step in building the network, working with RSPs and integrating our operating systems as we aim to provide the best possible service when commercial services commence."
The news comes amid a storm of controversy for NBN Co, with the company's head of construction Patrick Flannigan resigning on Monday after the company decided to ditch its tendering process for the $12 billion construction of the network.