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ABC Online: Minister defends NBN rollout

The Premier, Lara Giddings, today welcomed the news that seven more Tasmanian towns will have access to the National Broadband Network.

The beaming Premier declared that a number of major business centres including Deloraine, Triabunna, Upper Castra and Balfour would soon join Scottsdale, Temma and Smithton as leaders of the pack in broadband technology.

``As soon as the cable can be connected up to the grid, future business and community leaders will be able to play World of Warcraft and Crysis II with their teenage peers across the globe,’’ the patronising Y-generation politician said.

``The announcement confirms Tasmania’s status as the leader of the pack when it comes to next generation broadband technology, right up their with Albania and parts of Rwanda,’’ Ms Giddings said.  ``Although we’re still lagging Equador, and matching Greece may be a stretch,’’ she admitted.

“Work will begin in Triabunna in late May, as soon as we confirm the existence of any computers in that town, and the work will complement the existing fibre-enabled towns of Scottsdale and Smithton.’‘

Ms Giddings dismissed suggestions the rollout should concentrate on business-focussed regions like Launceston and Hobart, claiming important groundwork had already taken place in the targeted areas.

``My Government has spet millions recently ensuring that timber families in Scottsdale, Triabunna and Smithton can afford the latest in technology, like new plasma screen televisions and the slimline XBox 360,’’ she said.

``Giving these working families access to the NBN will help them access important services such as healthcare, education and information about future grants and subsidies for Tasmania’s struggling timber industry.’‘

“With Stage Two of the rollout we will begin to see those links being forged and new applications developed that will literally change the way people live and do business,’’ she said, clutching a copy of `Pacman’.

``Since Stage 1 of the rollout, already six families and two businesses in Scottsdale are now surfing the information superhighway, and at least two more will join when their existing Telstra contracts expire.’‘

“I look forward to the Federal Government meeting its commitment to deliver the technology to a further 90,000 homes in stage 3, schools and businesses in Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie in the near future.”

Ms Giddings hinted that Tasmania’s major centres could look forward to fibre optic cabling ``soon, probably just before the 2023 Federal Election.’‘

Ms Giddings congratulated Aurora Energy for managing the roll-out in Tasmania and leading the way for the rest of the country.

“Aurora is a proud Tasmanian company and there are significant cost savings to be had by using Aurora to wire up homes and business to the NBN at the same time they disconnect power to the properties for non-payment of their electricity account.’