Gillard to launch NBN Armidale tomorrow

Gillard to launch NBN Armidale tomorrow

Summary: Prime Minister Julia Gillard is set to flick on the switch for the National Broadband Network in Armidale tomorrow, officially launching the first services of the $35.9 billion project in the mainland.


Prime Minister Julia Gillard is set to flick the switch for the National Broadband Network (NBN) in Armidale tomorrow, officially launching the first services for the mainland roll-out of the $35.9 billion project.

NBN Tasmania launch

The launch of Tasmanian NBN services (Credit: NBN Co)

ZDNet Australia understands that Gillard will be accompanied at the Armidale launch by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and independent MP Tony Windsor, whose electorate covers the regional town.

When he sided with the Labor party, in conjunction with fellow independent MPs Rob Oakeshott and Andrew Wilkie, and along with Greens MP Adam Bandt, to form a minority government in 2010, Windsor cited the NBN as the key factor that moved him across the line.

The Armidale first release site covers some 2900 premises, and will be a critical test site for NBN services, as it has a 90 per cent opt-in rate — meaning that it has the highest percentage of residents opting in to have the fibre cable installed at any of the five first release sites.

NBN Co announced last month that 12 retail service providers (RSPs) had been signed up to offer services at the NBN trial site in Armidale: Optus, AAPT, AARNet, Comscentre, Nextgen Networks, Platform Networks, SkyMesh, Internode, iiNet, iPrimus, Exetel and Telstra. The latter five telcos already offer services at the NBN first release sites in Tasmania.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia subsequently announced that it has also signed on to provide NBN services at the first release site in Armidale, signalling a move for the traditionally mobile-based telco into the fixed-line market.

According to users on broadband enthusiast website Whirlpool, NBN Co began switching on services for some customers in Armidale quietly last month.

The launch will be held at the Presbyterian Ladies College in Armidale, ZDNet Australia understands.

It is expected that services in the other mainland first release sites in Kiama Downs, Townsville, Brunswick and Willunga will be switched on in the coming months.

Speaking at the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the NBN in Sydney yesterday, NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley said that since the start of NBN services at sites in Tasmania in August 2010, 723 customers have ordered services on the NBN, 712 of which had been connected. The total number of premises covered in the first release site is 5000, roughly 45 per cent of which opted to have the fibre installed.

Currently, RSPs in Tasmania are not being charged by NBN Co for the services they offer to customers at the NBN trial sites outside of a $300 once-off fee per premise connected to the NBN. Quigley said yesterday that he expects NBN Co to begin charging the RSPs for these services on 1 July.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Government AU


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • I had hope that Mr Abbott and Mr Turnbull would be standing next to Ms Gillard and Mr Conroy to press the switch on the Armidale broadband.
    Blank Look
    • yes visionary that certainly would be nice unfortunately Abbott and Turnbull dont see what is best for Australia but only what is best for themselves thus they probably wouldn't show up. It's more fun pouting at home with your iPad you see.
      Hubert Cumberdale
  • Yes, Visionary, it would indeed be encouraging to see Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull there tomorrow, and hopefully The Australian will cover the story, too. Let's see what they're made of. The first Armidale fibre customers got their service on Monday 18 April, the week before Easter.
  • YIPPIE seven customers to get the NBN service in Armidale. What absolute garbage and how dumb does the Gillard Government think we Australians are. Also note that Armidale is in the electorate of Tony Windsor who is very important to keep Gillard in Government. Also note that Tasmania has only 600 customers after 10 months NBN promotion.
  • sydneyla, you're an idiot. these are test sites. you probably don't understand, but in order to make sure something this big works you need to test it before rolling it out nationally. not to mention that things take TIME to build. someone should knock some common sense into abbot's destructionist blind followers.
    • TEST SITES!! Update: FTTH has been rolled in in Australia by the likes of Telstra, Opticomm, transACT and others for years, plus don't forget all the FTTH sites in the world that have been rolled out by the very same international company with the major responsibility for the rollout in Australia.

      Of course we have to hype up that the Labor led NBN FTTH rollout is some sort of new bleeding edge innovation that must be taken very very carefully, that way the sucker punter taxpayers footing the $43 billion bill think we are leading the world in BB.

      • "bububu taxpayers $43 billion blah blah blah"

        Indeed that is 'problem'. Good thing they will eventually get their money back.

        "think we are leading the world in BB."

        We pretty much are leading the world... assuming the abbott and his zoo crew dont stuff it up if they magically win the next election.
        Hubert Cumberdale