NBN Armidale launches for 7 customers

NBN Armidale launches for 7 customers

Summary: Just seven customers had been connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN) trial services in Armidale ahead of the official launch with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.


Just seven customers had been connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN) trial services in Armidale ahead of the official launch with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.

NBN Armidale Launch

NBN Armidale Launch (Screenshot by Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)

The launch of the NBN on the mainland in Armidale today marks the start of trial customer services for Telstra, iiNet, Internode and Primus on the mainland. iiNet and Internode have started with two customers each, while Primus had one customer and Telstra said it had "a handful" of customers with NBN services. Each telco had connected to the National Broadband Network on a trial basis with no cost to the customers.

iiNet told ZDNet Australia that its two customers are on plans with download speeds of 100Mbps, with 1 terabyte of data quota per month.

One of the iiNet customers, Peter Erskine, is a researcher at the University of New England, and said that he would use his new NBN connection to work from home.

"I work as a researcher at the University of New England; however, I prefer to work from home. The NBN connection makes it possible for me to teleconference online and keep in touch with my university colleagues online more reliably than before," he said in a statement.

Telstra said that although it had only signed up a "handful" of customers at this time, it is looking to increase this to about 40 when the full trial in Armidale has commenced.

"We're testing NBN Co's range of speeds (12, 25, 50 and 100 Mbps), and customers will get a 200GB monthly allowance," Telstra said. "We'll also be testing how products such as the T-Box and T-Hub operate over the NBN."

Internode's two customers for the trial are IT professionals Stephen Stroud and Owen Hedger. Hedger is a computer repairman, and said that working from home was now just like being in the office.

"I used our NBN service to gain remote access to work from home and it was more like being on the LAN (Local Area Network) than using the internet. For a business with multiple offices across a region, that sort of communication could be a real cost saver and a big boost to productivity," he said.

Vocal critic of NBN's pricing model, Internode founder Simon Hackett travelled to Armidale for the launch this morning, and was pleased that the telco was one of the first to connect customers to the NBN.

"The NBN is a long game, but Internode is committed to being first with the NBN in every new area that it rolls out. Today's launch at Armidale is an important first step of that journey on mainland Australia," he said.

Andrew Sims, general manager of marketing with Primus, told ZDNet Australia that one customer with the telco in Armidale had been connected so far.

"Primus has signed up its first customer in Armidale, and others will be brought online over the next few weeks. Speeds are [100Mbps up and 40Mbps down] and they will be on the highest download quota plan available — 300GB," he said.

It is expected that more customers will be included in the trial in the coming months, and commercial services for the NBN will commence in September.

At the launch at the Presbyterian Ladies College, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said that the vocal critics of the NBN should pay a visit to the regional town to see how the roll-out of the $35.9 billion project is progressing.

"Come here to Armidale; the NBN is real, it is here and we will not stop until the last cable is laid and the last home is connected," she said.

Opposition spokesman for regional communications Luke Hartsuyker said that today's launch for just seven customers paled in comparison to other tech launches.

"When Apple launched their iPad last year, thousands of internet users lined the streets to get hold of the new device. It was the same story two months later in July 2010 when Apple released the iPhone 4," Hartsuyker said in a statement. "Thousands of customers braved winter weather to wait overnight to buy the new wireless phone. Apple greeted the waiting with food, drinks and live music."

"But at the launch of the Gillard Government's NBN in Armidale, it was confirmed just seven Armidale customers have signed up. This is despite all the feigned hype of Julia Gillard and Senator [Stephen] Conroy about the need to spend $50 billion rolling out optic fibre across Australia," he said.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Telcos, Telstra


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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  • "When Apple launched their iPad last year blah blah etc"

    Is he seriously comparing the NBN to the iPad?
    Hubert Cumberdale
    • "Is he seriously comparing the NBN to the iPad?'

      Well at least they are both 'new technology' releases, but then again you compare the NBN to roads and you have no problem thinking that's 'serious'! LOL
      • wow, advocate doesnt know what an analogy is... derp!
        Hubert Cumberdale
        • It would be much quicker to list what he does know about HC, than what he doesn't, so heres the list, numerically...

  • Wow. The NBN launches for 7 cleints. 7 after all this time. Tasmania has the Butcher the Baker and the candlestick maker all logged on. It is so exciting I can barely contain myself. At what cost though we all ask. Another bungle by the Giddy Gillard team.
    • Armidale is in New South Wales not Tasmania, if you insist on commenting on this topic perhaps you should try to keep up with current events and look at a map.
      Hubert Cumberdale
  • Why do the idiots in the opposition keep inflating the cost of the NBN. It's 36 billion not 50 billion. It works out at about 3 billion a year for the rollout. It's not that big an investment.
    • Silky, this government hasn't had the best record at keeping their initiatives on budget so I can understand the inflation although $50 billion is a bit too much of an exaggeration.
    • It jumped up to 55 billion today lol.
      Hubert Cumberdale
  • Just because only 7 people are connected doesn't mean only 7 people wanted to be connected, I put in my paperwork to be part of the trial and I'm sure many other people did too, it just happens those 7 were the ones first picked.

    To reuse the iPad analogy, it would be like Apple released 10 for a few select customers a month before release.
    • Considered it' only been turned on today and isn't fully connected to all house holds seven isn't bad. I'm the the NBN area and want it but my problem getting info about the costs from someone not that my house has been connected as yet
  • Exactly SomeOne...

    Granted it doesn't look good, particularly in the context it is being portrayed...But if it's ready to switch on, switch it on and start, regardless of how many customers they have...

    What, should they wait until everyone is off their current contract in 2012, 13 or 14 (whatever) and then switch it on? Just so the number are better...

    These supporters of market forces, would they not open their new businesses until people queued up outside?

    Gotta start somewhere...!
  • I'll be jumping on board as soon as the roll out finally slithers past me in regional SA. I am expecting that to be sometime in the year 3000 at the current rate.
    • Cool Neeko73, in the meantime log onto a website, any website and by the time the NBN slithers past you in 3000, the page should just about be loaded for you!
  • We appear to go around in circles I believe the NBN is a waste of money many who post here cannot live without it. But I do know the majority of those who payed tax and went without other services to fun it will never use it. But I doubt anyone here would care about that.
    • "I believe the NBN is a waste of money"

      I believe you are wrong.

      "But I do know the majority of those who payed tax and went without other services to fun it will never use it."

      Who are these people and what services have they been missing out on ever since the NBN rollout started? And how do you know they will never use it? Newflash: the NBN is a replacement network for the rotted out copper that means even if they don’t subscribe to a broadband plan they will still be using it in some fashion... oh wait let me guess you are now going to complain about paying for it twice so let's clarify; your first complaint is tax payers funding the rollout and your second complaint is when that money is payed back to the taxpayers?
      Hubert Cumberdale
      • rubbish
        • Nothing rubbish about it, you anti-NBN crusaders are far too predictable.
          Hubert Cumberdale
  • Well the fact the NBN will pay for itself dismisses your entire (financially based) argument straight away...

    The fact that budget allocations to schools, roads, hospitals etc aren't affected by or during the NBN build (and again it will pay for itself) dismisses your entire argument again...

    The fact that there are flow-on financial benefits, dismisses your entire argument yet again.

    And the fact there are non-financial (directly non-financial that is) benefits to the economy, once and for all dismisses your entire argument...

    So without any reason and contrary to the NBN Corporate Plan, now AGAIN, please suggest this is not so...
    • FIZZ I think you make it up as you go along the facts you talk about are your personal unsubstantiated facts. To say that the NBN has not taken funds from other services is naive imagine how pensioners would have benefited from a dental service scraped to fund the NBN. And that's a fact.