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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 September 2010) . . Page.. 4319 ..


transform the way we live, play, do business and communicate is equal to the transforming power of the railways except that broadband will be delivered to your door, right across the country.

With capacity to deliver speeds of up to 100 megabytes per second—in layman’s terms, up to 100 times faster than most experience it today—the NBN will connect 93 per cent of all homes, all businesses, all schools and all hospitals to fibre. The remaining seven per cent, for whom fibre is impossible or prohibitive, will be connected to wireless and satellite technologies. I have already been to Alice Springs to witness for myself what a huge difference it will make to e-health, for instance, in the Northern Territory and other remote communities.

The first sites for pilot releases under the NBN rollout were announced in March this year, with NBNCo the company established to design, build and operate the national broadband network. In June this year the commonwealth announced that NBNCo had entered into an agreement with Telstra that would see the proposed network rolled out even faster and even more cheaply. The agreement allows NBNCo to re-use suitable Telstra infrastructure, including pits, ducts and back-haul fibre, as it starts to roll out the new network, avoiding unnecessary infrastructure duplication and therefore accelerating the rollout.

On July 8, there was the most exciting news yet for Canberrans. NBNCo announced that Gungahlin would be among the next 19 locations for rollout, 14 of them brand new locations and five sites that are adjacent to sites from the first release. Gungahlin will be in the vanguard of the largest single infrastructure investment in Australia’s history. At each site, fibre will be unrolled past roughly 3,000 premises. The precise areas to be covered by the rollout are yet to be determined, but conversations are about to begin between NBNCo and the ACT government, as well as with Gungahlin businesses and residents. In fact, I understand that officials from NBNCo are meeting today with officers from across a range of ACT government agencies to have preliminary discussions.

The rollout of the national broadband network in Gungahlin is a very significant investment in the nation’s capital, one that I hope all members in this place would applaud and welcome. It is particularly significant since NBNCo has already indicated that it is likely that these early rollout sites will be the points from which future rollouts will occur. In other words, it is 3,000 Gungahlin premises now, with the potential for many more as the next phases of NBN investment are achieved.

Canberra is a perfect test site for the commonwealth to demonstrate the potential of the NBN rollout. As a community we are extremely quick to adopt and adapt to new digital technologies. We therefore are well placed to show how very high speed broadband can transform our lives for the better. And of course Gungahlin, a relatively new part of the city, with significant public infrastructure investments being made all the time by the ACT government, is a location with great potential.

Sadly, there are some amongst us, including, most notably, members of the Liberal Party, who do not seem to understand that broadband is about much more than downloading music or television programs or visiting, for instance, online gambling


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