The National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) has kicked off services in Townsville, with two Northern Queensland regional local service providers among the first to trial services to customers in the regional town.
Wholesale aggregator Nextgen networks is reselling the trial services to Townsville-based Internet Solutions and North Queensland Telecom, marking the first case of a telco aggregating NBN services to smaller internet service providers (ISPs).
NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley said that the introduction of aggregators, such as Nextgen Networks would allow smaller telcos to enter the market, where they might not have otherwise have been able to, due to the costs associated with infrastructure.
"This means that small, or even some larger service providers have the potential to enter parts of the telecommunications market with a reduced requirement to invest in their own infrastructure to interconnect with the NBN," he said in a statement.
"Such flexibility has the potential to support a range of wholesale and retail business models, and is expected to facilitate lower barriers to entry for service providers, and to open up competition — both in major centres and in regional areas like North Queensland."
Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan was on hand to mark the launch in Townsville today, which is now the fourth mainland site to have trial services connected. The launch follows similar NBN service kick-offs in Armidale, Kiama and Brunswick. Although Internode already has customers live in Willunga, NBN Co said that it expects to have an official launch soon.
The Townsville roll-out encompasses 3100 premises in the fibre footprint, with 1950 — or 63 per cent — opting to have the fibre connected to their premises. Of this 1950, currently 110 premises are trialling NBN services through AARNet, iiNet, Internode, Nextgen Networks, Primus and Telstra. A full commercial launch for retail services is expected in October.
NBN Co reported today that a total of 1690 premises are now connected to the NBN and receiving services, with 655 in Tasmania, 580 on the mainland for fibre and 455 users on NBN Co's interim satellite service.
The company also indicated that 28 retail service providers have signed on to offer NBN services, 12 of which have now completed NBN Co's on-boarding process.