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Darwin a priority in National Broadband Network.



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Prime Minister of Australia

Media Release

Darwin a priority in National Broadband Network

01 July 2009

A new optical fibre broadband link to Darwin will be one of the first priority steps in the roll out of the National Broadband Network.

The Australian Government today called a competitive tender to construct, operate and maintain the backbone link - with construction expected to begin by September, and better broadband services available in Darwin next year.

The $43 billion National Broadband Network is the single largest infrastructure project in Australia since the Snowy Hydro scheme, and is critical to building the recovery from the global economic recession.

Darwin is one of the first six priority locations for new broadband infrastructure under the $250 million Regional Broadband Blackspots Program.

A new optical fibre broadband link to Darwin will:

z Increase access to broadband services - which Darwin needs more than other capital cities because of its distance from other commercial centres z Put downward pressure on prices by increasing competition - according to the Northern Territory Government, backbone prices are three to five times higher than the costs of similar routes elsewhere z Increase the reliability of services - three months ago, Territorians waited 11 hours for a communications system

fault to be fixed because Darwin is the only capital city with no competitive backbone link.

Retail providers of broadband services must have access to competitive backbone infrastructure on an open access, equivalent basis - that is why the new optical fibre broadband link to Darwin is important.

This project will also kickstart the first of 25,000 local jobs that will be supported by the eight-year National Broadband Network.

Other priority locations for which a competitive tender has been called are:

z Emerald and Longreach, Queensland z Geraldton, Western Australia z Broken Hill, New South Wales z Victor Harbor, South Australia z South West Gippsland, Victoria.

Submissions from a wide range of stakeholders have helped the Government identify the first six priority locations for these initial backbone infrastructure investments - and subject to the outcome of Round 1, more locations and routes will be identified later in the year.

Further information on the National Broadband Network is also available online:

www.dbcde.gov.au/nationalbroadbandnetwork

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