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Monday, 19 October 2015
Page: 11655

Mr TAYLOR (Hume) (21:14): In regional communities, there has been healthy scepticism about the National Broadband Network. Will it ever arrive? Is it any good? What about the small centres and more remote properties? With the announcement of the NBN three-year rollout I, like many other regional MPs, am able to outline to local communities not only when it is coming but also exactly the type of technology it is, what it means and how many people will benefit.

For communities in Hume the next three years will deliver access to fast, reliable broadband internet for everyone. Satellite broadband will be a crucial part of the technology mix, and I will get to that in a moment. The fixed line and fixed wireless network will deliver fast access to broadband for 42,000 premises in Hume in the next three years, both businesses and homes. Fixed wireless towers have already been activated in many locations across the Cowra and Young districts and coverage from these towers is stretching into parts of neighbouring shires, including Boorowa, Weddin, Harden, Cootamundra and Upper Lachlan.

John Roberts, near Darbys Falls, connected to the NBN via the Mount McDonald tower, which was switched on last month. He said his family has not looked back and the speeds are incredible. In Yass and Bowning, towers will be activated next month—November—two further towers are being built at Mount Manton and Binalong will be switched on early next year. NBN towers are also being built at Coota, Marulan, Tallong and Wingello, north of Bundanoon, and towers in the Wollondilly shire will provide access to a huge number of small communities.

In total, fixed wireless will bring fast broadband access to almost 4,000 Hume residents. The fixed line fibre rollout will start happening in Goulburn in December this year. Goulburn will be the first Hume centre to have NBN fibre fully installed. In Bundanoon, Colo Vale, Yerrinbool, Hill Top, Willow Vale and a number of other parts of the Wingecarribee shire fibre will be laid late this year and early next year, allowing 5,500 premises to connect to fast broadband.

The NBN Co website shows the Wingecarribee and Goulburn areas lit up green, indicating build preparation is underway. In Wollondilly, fibre is rolling out to The Oaks, Oakdale and Belimbla Park in the first half of 2016, connecting 1100 premises. Later next year it will come to Bargo, Buxton, Couridjah, Picton, Tahmoor, Thirlmere and Yanderra, allowing almost 7,000 premises to connect. Wilton receives fibre in the following year. Further west in Hume, Crookwell receives fibre in 2017, as does Harden Murrumburrah, Coota, Boorowa and Grenfell. For Cowra, Young, Yass, Murrumbateman and many places in the Wingecarribee shire, fibre will be laid next year.

For almost half the electorate of Hume, the fixed line and fixed wireless network will deliver access to the NBN. For the areas where fixed line and fixed wireless do not reach, the brilliant news is that new satellite connections, including satellite Sky Muster, which is now in orbit, will be available from May next year. Across the more remote, outlying areas of Hume and many farming areas, satellite broadband will be the way we deliver fast internet.

Satellite broadband is fast and reliable and, unlike past experience, we will be providing enough capacity for regional users. We have just successfully launched, as I said, the first of two new NBN satellites and these will revolutionise access for so many people in remote areas. This is the most exciting part of the NBN technology mix for me—bringing fast internet to families and businesses who had virtually given up because of their location.

Important to mention, but not part of the NBN, is 4G small-cell technology and 4GX. They have been activated to benefit a number of smaller communities across Hume, including Dalton, Bigga, Crookwell, Tirrannaville, Couridjah, Tahmoor, Bargo and many others. The 4G small cells can boost the signal from an existing Telstra exchange.

It is a relief to be receiving positive feedback from constituents who are welcoming the technology that is finally arriving. This government, as it has promised, is bringing the bush up to speed—quite literally—with the big smoke.