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NBN fixed wireless being rolled out in Far North Queensland

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Joint media release

Senator the Hon Jan McLucas Senator for Queensland

Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity

NBN fixed wireless being rolled out in Far North Queensland

Minister for Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, and Queensland Senator Jan McLucas, announced today that planning has started to connect more local communities around Cairns to the National Broadband Network (NBN).

People in communities across the Aurukun Shire Council, Cairns Regional Council, Cook Shire Council, Tablelands Regional Council and Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council areas will have access to fast, affordable, and reliable broadband, with up to 5,000 homes and businesses expected to be switched on in stages starting mid 2013.

Through fixed wireless technology, homes and businesses in theses areas will access wholesale speeds of up to 150 times faster than dial up and eight times faster than ADSL.

The fibre rollout in Cairns is also scheduled to start shortly. For those living outside the fibre and fixed wireless footprints, fast broadband will be available via satellite.

“For too long, people living in regional and rural Australia have had to put up with slow, unreliable internet connections - if they could get a connection at all. But thanks to the Gillard Government’s investment in the National Broadband Network, all Australians, no matter where they live, will have access to fast, affordable, and reliable broadband,” Senator Conroy said.

“Through the NBN, the government is also delivering uniform national wholesale pricing. This means people living in and around Cairns will pay the same prices for NBN services as people in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.”

Senator McLucas welcomed news that a number of Far North communities, including some on Cape York, will have access to fast and reliable broadband from next year.

“This is fantastic news for the Far North,” Senator McLucas said. “The NBN will change the way we live and work here in Far North Queensland and I am very excited by the progress we’ll see on the ground in the next 12 months.

“In many parts of the Far North, people cannot access adequate broadband so this is a great outcome for our region.

“This is a truly exciting time for families and businesses who want to get online 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.”

The Gillard Government is prioritising regional and rural Australia for the rollout of the NBN. The majority of NBN construction has taken place in regional and rural Australia, while NBN Co has brought forward the introduction of wireless and satellite services so that people in the bush can get access to better broadband as soon as possible.

Date: 20 June 2012 Minister Conroy’s office: Adam Sims 0408 258 45 Senator McLucas’s office: Belinda Featherstone 0408 743 457

List of councils where fixed wireless planning proposals are expected to be lodged

 Aurukun Shire Council

 Cairns Regional Council

 Cook Shire Council

 Tablelands Regional Council