Conroy dismisses 16% Tassie NBN take-up

Summary:Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has dismissed a report suggesting only 16 per cent of Tasmanians would take up the National Broadband Network (NBN) even after 15 years.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has dismissed a report suggesting only 16 per cent of Tasmanians would take up the National Broadband Network (NBN) even after 15 years.

The Australian newspaper reported the figure after it was given access to documents under Freedom of Information Act. The documents released, however, were based on the government's first NBN model, not the fibre-to-the-home model adopted in April of 2009.

"This is information taken from a bid that was made by the Tasmanian Government to the original fibre-to-the-node proposal. It's not actually the plan that we are rolling out. It's actually not the financials behind the national broadband network," Senator Conroy told ABC radio this morning.

In an interview with ABC Tasmania's Tim Cox, Conroy said that a figure released last week from the first three NBN sites in Tasmania was nothing like the 16 per cent quoted.

"We announced last week that 45 per cent of Tasmanians had signed a form to say 'Please come and connect [us]'," Conroy said. "So the sort of pricing implications that we're able to look at across the country aren't factored into the original proposal from the Tassie Government and Aurora."

Conroy also said the first Tasmanian services would be turned on "in just three or four weeks".

"Tasmania are going to have their first live customers next month in the first week or two of July as we turn the network on; and that will be a very historic situation."

In February, Conroy's department refused to state how many of the 5000 homes in Smithton, Midway Point and Scottsdale had been connected.

In July last year, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the first homes would be connected "come the end of the year". He added that it was to turn the services on "come July" of this year.

Topics: Broadband, Government : AU, NBN

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