Tassie NBN digging to start October

Tassie NBN digging to start October

Summary: Minister for Communications Stephen Conroy today said trench digging to lay fibre cables for the National Broadband Network in Tasmania would begin in October.


Minister for Communications Stephen Conroy today said trench digging to lay fibre cables for the National Broadband Network in Tasmania would begin in October.

Stephen Conroy at the ATUG Awards earlier this year
(Credit: Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au)

"Let me be clear about this: we will start digging new trenches come October, we will start connecting the first homes come the end of the year and our objective is to turn on these new services come July next year," Conroy said in Senate Question Time today.

Conroy had given the October start date in response to questions from fellow Labor Senator, Tasmania, Helen Polley. Conroy said the reason Tasmania was chosen first was because only 39 per cent of the population had broadband, as opposed to the national average of 52 per cent.

While October has been set for the commencement of civil construction work in Tasmania, yet to be announced is what proportion of the state's network will be underground or carried overhead.

In June, Conroy told the National General Assembly of Local Government that the NBN would be as unobtrusive as possible, but that in some instances aerial cabling "may be faster and more cost-effective".

Aurora Energy, which jointly owns the Tasmanian NBN Company (TNBN Co) with the national NBN Company, will be responsible for building the network, recently issued a request for tender in late July for around 1120 kilometres of overhead cable and just 40 kilometres of underground cable. The state-owned utility's fibre assets were also recently estimated by Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett to be worth around $100 million — $600 million shy of what the total cost is expected to be.

This week Goldman Sachs JBWere (GSJBW) Investment Research estimated that the NBN Company would only turn a profit in 2025, when it reached 75 per cent penetration of households, equal to 7.1 million premises.

TNBN Co chairman Doug Campbell is expected to announce the appointments of the remaining TNBN Co board members shortly.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Government AU

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Yay!!!!!!

    This is good news! Let's hope that they keep their promise on this.

    I just can't believe it would take more than a month from now to simply get the shovel out from the toolshed and start digging :)
  • Cable MUST go underground

    The idea of overhead cabling should not even be entertained.
  • NBN

    how do you get a job splicing the fibre
  • Holes in the ground

    They have already been stuffing about along the sides of the eastern outlet the past few weeks. One would prsume they are laying conduits for the main backhaul from the data centre at Cambridge into the City. Didnt they put enough conduit in when they dug it all up 18 months ago?
    We are in Midway Point one of the trial areas for fibre to the Home sounds nice but our business runs just fine on 8000/384 ADSL we use SIP trunking / remote excahnge / terminal services etc
    Anyway I wont hold my breath for the new fibre connection by june next year.
    It would be nice if they could work out how they propose to tackle underground service delivery from the poles to house so future developments can be planned.