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Minister for Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, has announced that planning has started to connect more communities to the National Broadband Network (NBN) via Fixed Wireless.
People living in communities in northern NSW, the Hunter and the southern part of Darling Downs in Queensland will have access to fast, affordable, and reliable broadband, with the first homes and businesses being switched on from mid to late 2013.
Through fixed wireless technology, homes and businesses in these areas will access wholesale speeds of up to 150 times faster than dial up and eight times faster than ADSL.
Around 17,000 homes and businesses in total will receive a fixed wireless service, with the rollout due to be fully completed in 2015. For those living outside these areas, fast broadband will be available via satellite.
Senator Conroy told the media that:
“For too long, people living in regional and rural Australia have had to put up with slow, unreliable internet connections – if they could get a connection at all. But thanks to the Gillard Government’s investment in the National Broadband Network, all Australians, no matter where they live, will have access to fast, affordable, and reliable broadband”.
“Through the NBN, the government is also delivering uniform national wholesale pricing. This means people living in and around Tamworth, Oxley Vale and Piallamore will pay the same prices for NBN services as people in Sydney, Newcastle, and Wollongong. This is a truly exciting time for families and businesses who want to get online in regional and rural Australia.”
“Like water and electricity, the Gillard Government sees fast broadband as an essential utility that should be made available to all Australians”.
The Gillard Government is prioritising regional and rural Australia for the rollout of the NBN. The majority of NBN construction has taken place in regional and rural Australia, while NBN Co has brought forward the introduction of wireless and satellite services so that people in the bush can get access to better broadband as soon as possible.
NBN Co’s fixed-wireless and satellite services are being delivered to the parts of Australia that are outside the 93% of homes and businesses that will receive fibre to the premises. NBN Co plans to install fibre in towns of 1000 premises or more and to some towns with as few as 500 premises that are located on an NBN fibre transit link.
Senator Conroy was commenting from the USA where he is visiting California-based Space Systems/Loral, where the next generation satellites for the National Broadband Network are being designed and built.
The two next generation satellites will double the speed of the NBN for people living in rural and remote Australia.
“The two new NBN satellites will double the speed of the existing interim satellite service, which over 7000 Australians in regional and rural areas are already benefitting from,” Senator Conroy said.
“The NBN satellites Loral is building will double the broadband speeds for people living in rural and remote Australia when launched in 2015. They will also offer better speeds and performance than many people in metro areas receive today, at an affordable price,” Senator Conroy said.
“The fast, affordable and more reliable broadband these new satellites deliver will lead to improved education and health services for rural and remote Australia, as well as greater opportunities for small businesses and agriculture,” Senator Conroy said.
During the visit, Senator Conroy viewed ten satellites in various stages of assembly and testing.
“Satellite is the most cost-effective way to provide high quality communications services over large, sparsely populated regions. We are proud to contribute to Australia’s National Broadband Network,” said John Celli, president of Space Systems/Loral.
“We commend the Australian Government for its pioneering program to provide equal access to broadband services for all its citizens.”
Loral’s satellites will provide fast and reliable broadband access to Australia from an orbit 35,786 km above the Earth’s equator.
NBN Co will launch the Long Term Satellite Service in 2015. For more details on the Interim Satellite Service, including eligibility criteria, visit the NBN Co website.