Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett today announced the State Government would make a $12.7 million equity contribution to state-owned utility Aurora Energy for its fibre optic network, which will become part of the $43 billion National Broadband Network.
The $12.7 million was confirmed today as part of the state's 2009-2010 budget, which also included $1 million to be spent on legal and advisory support to assist with the establishment of the NBN in Tasmania, as well as $1 million over three years to support the Tasmanian Electronic Commerce Centre (TECC).
"Aurora's optic fibre network will be used for the NBN in Tasmania. As foreshadowed in November 2008, the government will make an equity contribution to Aurora Energy of $12.7 million in support of our strategic partnership agreement with Aurora for the future operation of their network," said Bartlett in a statement.
"The eyes of the nation, if not the world, are focused on Tasmania as it prepares to commence the implementation of a statewide fibre-to-the-premises network that will target some 200,000 properties."
Still uncertain, though, is the actual start date for work on the NBN in Tasmania. A key milestone has been slated for 30 June when Basslink expects to light up its Bass Straight fibre cable, which will compete head to head with Telstra's. Aurora Energy has entered into a commercial agreement with Basslink for this.
Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy had, at the announcement of the new NBN, said Tasmania's roll-out would start "as early as July".
ZDNet.com.au contacted Aurora Energy for comment on a start date for the NBN in Tasmania, however, a spokesperson was unable to provide any details on its progress.
Today's Tasmanian budget papers stated that: "The project is still in the planning stages and details have not been finalised. The network, to be built over seven to eight years, is due to commence in Tasmania with work beginning in early 2009-10."