Agri workers and miners can also gain from the NBN, the Deputy Prime Minister insisted.
This comes as the $11 billion NBN Co/Telstra deal is flung into fresh doubt and delays to the project widely rumored, as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission give the agreement terms the once over – and were far from happy with what it found.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims has strongly defended his criticism of sections of the agreement but did admit all questionable issues were capable of being resolved and should not delay roll-out of the NBN – despite press reports to the contrary.
“The launch of the NBN today is yet another example of how the Gillard Government is delivering for North Queensland,” Treasurer Swan said.
The Townsville trial site in the Queensland town is due to run until October – the fourth location on mainland Australia.
After that, residents and businesses connected to the $36bn high speed broadband service will be able to sign up with their preferred ISP, with Internode recently releasing its NBN pricing structure, which proved more costly than expected.
“The NBN will significantly support growth and create business opportunities for Townsville with its diverse regional economy and strengths in mining and agriculture,” Swan added.
Investment in the NBN is essential for Australia to be an “knowledge-based economy” in the future, as desired by Julia Gillard’s government – the creators of the controversial project.
Townsville residents and businesses can now avail of benefits NBN can give education, telehealth, business and even e-government services, the Department of Communications said.
“The NBN will provide the connectivity to allow telehealth services – such as the application to assist diabetes patients profiled at today’s launch – to becomephen e part of the primary healthcare system between a patient at home and their GP,” Commmunicaitons Minister,Senator Stephen Conroy, said.
NBN Co is testing network design and construction techniques ahead of the national rollout and planning and construction of the NBN is now “well underway.” Willunga in South Australia is to follow shortly as the next test site.
|“These sites are showcasing the diversity of conditions NBN Co will encounter across Australia in the network roll-out,” Conroy added.
Other second release sites in New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT, announced 3 August, include: Queensland at Springfield Lakes, Toowoomba and Aspleyin Brisbane, in New South Wales at Riverstone in Western Sydney and Coffs Harbor, and in the ACT at Gungahlin.
This release also includes extensions to existing works in Armidale and Kiama (NSW) and Townsville (QLD).
Work on these is to kick off this month.
NBN Co is negotiating construction contracts for the second release sites in other states and the Northern Territory, and expects to final arrangements in the near future.