NBN Tasmania officially launched Australia’s first national broadband network rollout today at Midway Point, northeast of Hobart, and in doing so the government also committed to a maximum access speed to one gigabit per second.
Midway Point is one of three communities in Tasmania where homes and businesses can order fibre-to-the-home (FttH) broadband services through an ISP – or “retail service providers” (RSPs) as the NBN calls them – including iiNet, Primus and Internode.
The NBN is also operating in Smithton and Scottsdale in the state’s north. The three developments are part of stage one rollout of NBN Tasmania, which is designed to deliver up to 100Mbps connectivity.
At the launch, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Senator Stephen Conroy upped the ante and said the NBN is capable of access speeds of up to 1Gbps – 10 times faster than originally planned.
Early adopter customers of the NBN said their Internet access speeds were noticeably better than what they had previously – from dial-up to a “really good connection”.
One NBN user uploaded 60 photos to Facebook in “two minutes” and another downloaded 55GB of content overnight.
So the increased access speed appears to be the greatest appeal of the NBN.
NBN Tasmania executive chairman Doug Campbell said the launch is a great milestone for the NBN, the people of Tasmania and the Australian telecommunications industry.
“The rollout of the network is a significant achievement that represents the collective efforts of many people, including our agents Aurora Energy, contractors OptiComm, John Holland, BSA, and Techlife, supplier Corning, the Tasmanian government, local government, business and community groups, our shareholder, the retail service providers and NBN Tasmania’s own staff,” Campbell said.
The NBN was recently criticised for not doing enough to help the local networking industry.
“In the pre-launch activity we connected more than 70 customers [and] we look forward to continuing to connect services, based on the orders of RSPs, as they are received over coming months,” Campbell said.
Some 200 kilometres of optic fibre has been laid as part of this stage of the rollout creating more than 200 jobs.
According to the NBN, half of the residents in the three towns consented to a fibre connection during the rollout to make them “NBN-ready”.
The launch event featured demonstrations of health, education and business applications of the Internet.