Prime Minister Julia Gillard has this morning officially launched the first mainland National Broadband Network site in Armidale, New South Wales.
From September, more than 2,900 Armidale premises — not including the University of New England’s campus in the region — will be able to connect to the Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) through providers including iiNet, AAPT, Optus, SkyMesh and for the first time, Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA).
The unprecedented number of suppliers in the region will ensure prices will remain competitive, with each company set to compete for customer’s services in a tightly contested market.
The NBN Co. itself is wholesale-only and sells access to third-part Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) meaning residents will need to rely on one of the previously mentioned companies for a connection.
Many already offer services in Tasmania, where the network is already active in a limited number of areas, with more plans expected to be revealed shortly.
The first of five forthcoming mainland NBN sites — the others include Brunswick in Victoria, Willunga in South Australia and Townsville in Queensland — Armidale residents will have access to the fastest network in Australia, with Gillard excited about the “unprecedented opportunites” which will come from the new service.
More than 87% of Armidale residents and businesses have joined the NBN program, with all to have a fibre connection to their homes or business premises by September.
It’s expected the NBN project will generate a number of jobs, training, support regional growth and improve health and community services in the region.