NBN mainland construction begins

NBN mainland construction begins

Summary: Prime Minister Julia Gillard today launched the start of construction in Townsville for the mainland National Broadband Network (NBN).


Prime Minister Julia Gillard today launched the start of construction in Townsville for the mainland National Broadband Network (NBN).

Townsville was one of the five first release sites chosen to receive the NBN on the mainland. Those sites will see around 3000 premises each connected to the new high-speed network, which will now be capable of speeds up to 1Gbps, 10 times more than the 100Mbps originally thought.

Four schools, and a significant commercial area, will be connected in the roll-out, which was contracted to Ergon Energy. The local construction work will employ up to 100 workers in civil, electrical and telecommunications engineering, according to the government. Houses will see online services next year.

NBN Co head of construction Patrick Flannigan said that mainland construction was set to start at the end of last month; however, the company only formally announced the contract for the Brunswick build in Melbourne, for which Telstra has been contracted.

Construction in Townsville will take about 12 weeks and the city will be one of five sites around Australia to get first access to the network.

However, Prime Minister Julia Gillard failed to put a number at the launch on how many homes will be connected to the NBN during the next three years.

"My simple point is, I mean, look today, it's happening today," she said.

The Prime Minister also could not say how much it would cost the average family to hook up to the network.

"It depends what you want," Gillard said, adding that the beauty of the network was that it's "super fast".

Different service providers would compete on price, she said.

"Obviously you will pick what you want in your home based on those price comparisons," Gillard said.

Tasmania already has had a taste of fast broadband, with services online in the towns of Smithton, Scottsdale and Midway Point.

Topics: Broadband, Government AU, NBN

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • If you naysayers want to know how many people will connect to the NBN, ask Senator Conroy. Gillard is simply promoting the NBN, plain and simple.

    Bring on the NBN!
  • I was a NBN skeptic however what changed my mind was that I wanted to watch a movie that I rented off iTunes. All went well until it took 45 minutes to download over my quite fast ADSL2 connection. I then realised starkly how far I am from video on demand that other places actually have.

    I have already inquired with iiNet about when the NBN will be in our area and will be the first to connect when it is.
  • When Julia said we would be able to download HD movies in 30 seconds, she meant the full-blown HD movie which is around 40GB a file, uncompressed.

    Movies downloaded from iTunes are compressed DVD versions and are not HD.

    Compressed HD movies range from 8-20GB a file depending on your choice of sound options encoded into the file (DTS, Stereo or Dolby etc...)
  • The problem with iTunes rental is that they are all hosted in the USA, and this is the comment that Full Duplex wrote last week about bottle necks on the back bone to the USA.
  • iTunes uses Akamai to host locally.

    On that note, the back bone to the USA is not the bottleneck - the copper is.

    For more info check my post on Whirlpool. A Aussie Broadband forum: