NBN Co has announced the first sites on the mainland to be connected to the National Broadband Network, sites that will be considered "live trial" areas to test network design and construction methods.
The Brunswick site
(Credit: NBN Co)
The test sites will allow NBN Co to look at the effect of conditions prevailing in different areas across the country such as terrain, housing type and density, climate, and existing infrastructure.
The areas that have been chosen are:
- Part of the Melbourne suburb Brunswick (around 2600 premises)
- An area of Townsville covering parts of Aitkenvale and Mundingburra (around 3100 premises)
- Minnamurra and Kiama Downs, south of Wollongong (around 2600 premises)
- Part of west Armidale including the University of New England (around 2900 premises)
- The rural town of Willunga in South Australia (around 1000 premises)
The NBN Co has maps of the streets the first sites will cover on its website. While Victoria, NSW, Queensland and South Australia have been included in the trials, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory will miss out on the first round.
Actual construction work is expected to start early in the second half of the year.
There will be three stages of construction: laying the passive components of the network such as the fibre cable, deploying active network equipment in fibre access nodes, and giving retail providers network access, which will finally be given to end users.
Stage one and two are expected to be completed by early next year.
"The first release sites will provide critical information about the practical application of our designs, construction methods and technology in the real world. This will allow us to validate our network design and the total end-to-end systems in a live environment, following full testing in our integration labs," NBN Co chief executive officer Mike Quigley said in a statement.
"The first-release roll-out will also allow us to test different construction techniques, so we have selected sites that represent the diversity of situations we will encounter across Australia in the volume roll-out."
The thousands of blocks on premises will form "fibre serving area modules" — the network building blocks to be replicated across the country.