Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said today that he was close to announcing the next batch of sites to be connected to the National Broadband Network, which will include a better spread of the nation than the first five sites.
"We're very close to announcing the next 20 or so sites on mainland Australia where we will be connecting and the trucks will start rolling," he said today at an event to launch a new call centre in Sydney for Macquarie Telecom.
No personal considerations had gone into choosing the sites, according to Conroy.
"The engineers rule my life on this. They have a matrix of issues that are used to determine where we go," he said. The engineers considered factors such as whether or not people could get access to local council infrastructure or whether the council had existing duct space, according to the minister.
He did admit to twisting a few arms.
"I'll get in trouble for the next story but when they came to me with the first five there wasn't one in Western Australia. And I said 'Guys you know the N in NBN stands for 'national' and last time I checked Western Australia was part of the nation'."
- The construction work for the first five sites was beginning this month, he said. Those sites were:
- Part of the Melbourne suburb Brunswick (around 2600 premises)
- An area of Townsville covering parts of Aitkenvale and Mundingburra (around 3100 premises)
- Minnamurra and Kiama Downs, south of Wollongong (around 2600 premises)
- Part of west Armidale including the University of New England (around 2900 premises)
- The rural town of Willunga in South Australia (around 1000 premises)