Stage one of NBN begins with Tassie fibre tender

100Mbps to some 200,000 Tasmanian houses and businesses

The federal and Tasmanian governments have announced the start of the first stage of the National Broadband Network (NBN) project in Tasmania with a competitive tender for fibre optic cable by Aurora Energy.

This stage of the NBN roll out is scheduled to deliver wholesale-only, open access broadband network services in the second quarter of 2010 and will be used as a test case for the wider NBN on Australian mainland.

The tender will commence with procurement activities for equipment and resources, with the physical deployment beginning soon.

Premier of Tasmania David Bartlett said the announcement follows a “huge amount” of preparation, including design and planning undertaken by Aurora Energy to enable procurement to start in advance of construction.

Communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy said the project will also aim to address the “lack of parity” in available services in Tasmania compared to mainland Australia.

"Tasmania has a long standing disadvantage in accessing high speed broadband and is the logical test bed for this nation-building National Broadband Network project," Conroy said.

A new company, TNBN Co, will be established to manage the project. TNBN Co will be a subsidiary of NBN Co jointly owned by Aurora Energy.

TNBN Co will construct a fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) network to deliver speeds of 100Mbps, to some 200,000 Tasmanian houses and businesses.

The remainder of premises will be served by wireless or satellite with speeds of 12Mbps.

This announcement coincided with the formal launch by Mr Bartlett and Senator Conroy of the commercialisation of the Basslink fibre connection between Tasmania and Melbourne.

The optic fibre cable tender details are now available on the Tasmanian government’s Treasury website at www.tenders.tas.gov.au and advertisements will be placed in national newspapers.

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