The city of Armidale in rural New South Wales has celebrated becoming the first centre in mainland Australia to receive the National Broadband Network.
The Prime Minister presided over the switch-on of the superfast fibre optic broadband services to selected Armidale residents at an official ceremony this morning.
The NBN will in the coming months enable an increasing number of residents, businesses, and medical and educational facilities in the Armidale First Release Site to receive broadband at speeds of up to 100 Megabits per second*.
Residents are progressively being connected to the network as part of the customer trials by four telecommunications providers who have already completed the certification process: iiNet, Internode, iPrimus and Telstra.
The handful of Armidale customers who have been trialling the service over the past month now join those already connected to the network in Tasmania, where the three communities of Midway Point, Smithton and Scottsdale were brought online in August last year.
This test phase is a critical step in building the network, working with telecommunications providers and integrating our operating systems as we aim to provide the best possible service throughout the future rollout.
The launch featured demonstrations of education, health and business applications that will be enabled by the NBN as well as testimonials from some of the first Armidale customers connected to the network.
Mike Quigley, NBN Co Chief Executive, said: "Today marks a significant milestone in our national rollout. Residents in Armidale will be the first mainland Australians to experience the tremendous benefits of this vital communications infrastructure that will serve Australian homes, businesses, schools and hospitals for decades to come.
"It represents the collective efforts of many people, including our construction partner Silcar Communications, Armidale Dumaresq Council and the University of New Engalnd as well as business and community groups, local residents and the retail telecommunications companies."
Work on the NBN began in Armidale in August last year. The city is one of the five First Release Sites on the Australian mainland. The other sites – Kiama/Minnamurra Downs, NSW; Townsville, Qld; Willunga, SA and Brunswick, Vic – will be connected when they begin customer testing in the coming months.
* The speeds actually experienced by end-users will depend on a number of factors including the retail broadband plan they choose, their equipment and their in-premises connection.