THE first homes and businesses on the Coffs Coast could be switching on to high speed broadband in just one year's time.
The Minister for Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, announced that the NBN's first local customers could be on-line by mid-2013 just as the latest map of the fibre optic footprint for Coffs Harbour was released.
He said that through fixed wireless technology, homes and businesses in the North and mid-North coasts of NSW will access wholesale speeds of up to 150 times faster than dial up and eight times faster than ADSL.
Fifteen thousand premises in more than 170 suburbs and seven local government areas will receive a fixed wireless service, with the rollout due to be fully completed in 2015.
For those living outside these areas, fast broadband will be available via satellite.
"For too long, people living in regional and rural Australia have had to put up with second-class telecommunications infrastructure. But thanks to the Gillard Government's investment in the National Broadband Network, all Australians regardless of where they live will have access to fast, affordable, and reliable broadband," Senator Conroy said.
"Through the NBN, the government will also deliver uniform national wholesale pricing.
"This means that people living in and around Coffs Harbour, Taree, and Port Macquarie will pay the same prices for NBN services as people in Sydney, Newcastle, and Wollongong.
"This is a truly exciting time for broadband consumers in regional and rural Australia.
"Like water and electricity, the Gillard Government sees fast broadband as an essential utility that should be made available to all Australians."
NBN Co's fixed-wireless and satellite services are being delivered to the parts of Australia that are outside the 93% of homes and businesses that will receive fibre to the premises.
NBN Co plans to install fibre in towns of 1000 premises or more and to some towns with as few as 500 premises, where the town is located on an NBN fibre transit link.
Meantime the new fibre optic footprint map for Coffs Harbour details an extension to the previously announced rollout area, and is in-line with NBN Co's commitment to release new information as plans are completed for additional modules in a rollout site.
Each new module covers up to 3000 homes and businesses.
NBN Co has also recently released a new online interactive map that allows members of the community to check the status of the rollout by typing in their location or postcode.
That can be seen at http://www.nbnco.com.au/rollout/rollout-map.html.