States' help needed for NBN

COMMUNICATIONS Minister Stephen Conroy has urged Australian states to hasten the implementation of the national broadband network (NBN) to properly interconnect the whole of Australia.

The Federal Government is pushing for the full support of state leaders with this project.

In the case that they don't comply, Senator Conroy said he would not hesitate to use federal law to make it mandatory for states to push for connections in their regions.

Coffs Harbour has recently been announced as one of 14 new locations to share in the second stage rollout of the broadband network.

Once connected to the NBN, the city's new fibre network will deliver internet speed of up to 100Mbps, 50 times faster than most people experience today.

“We are working our way through the issues with the states and we ultimately would consider, if we can't reach settlement, mandating it through the Federal Parliament, but we prefer to be engaged with the states,” Senator Conroy said.

He said discussions with the state and territory leaders had been under way for more than a year now.

Second stage release sites, such as Coffs Harbour, are planned to build on the work NBN Co has done at the five first release sites, one of which is Armidale. Each site will see the network rolled out past about 3000 premises.

The exact areas to be covered within these locations will be determined by NBN Co after further consultation with local authorities.

“NBN Co's consultation with local authorities in the delivery of these sites is further evidence of the importance it places on taking a cooperative approach to the rollout,” Senator Conroy said.

“Construction in the second release locations is scheduled for the second quarter of 2011. Ultimately, the NBN will provide all premises in Australia with affordable, high-speed broadband, no matter where they are located.”

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