Apple of the isle: The NBN expands in Tasmania


The National Broadband Network Company this morning released maps and timing details for the next stage of its fibre rollout in Tasmania, with the network construction effort to affect some 11,150 homes and business across the state over the next year.

The locations next to receive fibre in the state will be Triabunna and Sorell from May, Deloraine and St Helens from July, Kingston Beach from August, George Town from September, and South Hobart from October.

Construction of the NBN in each location is expected to take from about four to six months, with broadband services conservatively expected to be ready in the second half of 2012 – although a NBN Co spokesperson said some may be available before that time. Those premises not covered by the fibre rollout will receive either wireless or satellite broadband services – with an “interim” satellite service due to be available from July this year and wireless by the middle of 2012.

NBN Co has appointed construction firm Conneq Infrastructure Services to assist with the rollout. Conneq was formerly known as Bilfinger Berger, and is part of the Lend Lease group – alongside Abigroup and Baulderstone.

Tasmania has been at the forefront of the development of the NBN in Australia, and we are very pleased to announce the next phase of construction is ready to commence,” said NBN Co acting head of construction, Dan Flemming.

“NBN Co has chosen a staged network construction approach as it allows us to incorporate learnings from previous work in a process of continuous improvement.” NBN Co has also been partnering with state-owned energy utility Aurora Energy in Tasmania.

The news comes as industry speculation continues to swirl around the future of the construction of the NBN. In early April NBN Co confirmed its head of construction Patrick Flannigan had resigned from his role; news that came just days after negotiations broke down between the fledgling fibre monopoly and some 14 construction firms about the construction of the nation-wide network.

The company had said the construction firms had not been able to provide “acceptable” terms and prices during four rounds of negotiations. While Flannigan did not comment on the issue publicly at the time, NBN Co head of corporate services Kevin Brown said the company could not proceed on the basis of the prices it had been offered. Flemming has been acting head of construction since that time.

Image credit: NBN Co


  1. Here’s hoping those areas unlike the previously announced Tasmanian areas actually use it.

  2. Why is everyone so amazed by this?

    Sydney already has 100mbps Optus cable which costs much less and includes 10x more data for the same price.

    I fail to see the benefit in paying MORE in metro locations for something that will be the same speed as the docsis 3.0 HFC network.

    Absolutely pointless

    • “Sydney already has 100mbps Optus cable which costs much less and includes 10x more data for the same price.”

      Um yeah … if they’ll connect it to your building … which Optus mostly won’t.

    • Well that’d be great, if I could work out what speed I would actually get on Optus Cable from what plan I purchased. All I know from their website is that 76% of their customers get over 8Mbps. If I buy a 50Mbps plan on the NBN I know that it will be twice as fast (server permiting) as the 25Mbps plan.

      Also, the download/upload on NBN Fibre is in most plans at a 5:2 ratio. And as Renai pointed out, Optus Cable isn’t going everywhere, NBN Fibre is, or rather, it should, it’s quite possible the Liberals will get into power and throw out the plan.

      • “Optus Cable isn’t going everywhere,”

        But where it does go most residences don’t want it, but comparisons with the NBN FTTH rollout is not allowed under the bizarre understanding most residences that rejected HFC will suddenly want FTTH because umm err – they just will.

        Of course those residences on HFC will ’embrace’ FTTH because they cannot have HFC anymore, what you might call a ‘forced affection’ for a technology.

        • I know it might be difficult to fathom but there are other factors than price and performance that users will go for when choosing Broadband.

          There are those who just go for price: They will tend to be on TPG or Exetel because it is cheap. I have recommended these to around about 20 people for that very reason.

          There are those who want performance: They will tend to be on Internode. I’m not entirely sure why this is, but that seems to be the status quo, you would think Telstra and Optus Cable would be the choice given it’s better performance characteristics on paper, but, like when I was in UK where VirginMedia offered 50Mbps HFC services, “geeks” still opted for ADSL2+ with O2/BeThere.

          And then there is everyone else: they will be on Optus or Telstra. Now considering that Optus and Telstra “suggest”, nay, force, households with Cable to get a Cable connection if they want Broadband, the fact that HFC Broadband subscriptions are low is more of a reflection on Optus and Telstra than it is on the market in general. Remember there are 4 million fixed line Broadband customers in this country.

          The fact I can get an extra 10Mbps on Telstra Cable is irrelevant to me, twice I opted for ADSL2+ over HFC, even through I knew that I would get better peek speeds on Telstra Cable. But the given the chose between ADSL2+ and FTTH, I would chose FTTH. This seems to be the opionion of the NBN as well as Telstra and Optus with everyone I talk to.

          Granted, my friends are all geeks, so you’ll, like you did with the Whirlpool survey call bias, even through we are the most likely to use the service and in general others who are not familiar with the technologies will come to us for advice.

          The fact remains there is an observable trend there. It may not make sense, but that’s the thing about trends in economics, there is always some factor that you can’t understand. Why do people in America like big muscle cars and trucks despite the fact they have terrible gas mileage and will, increasingly now, cost them a fortune? Why do people spend more on designer brands even through they can get products with better quality for less? Why do people own pets when all they are is an expense in the majority of cases?

  3. It’s great to see my hometown on the map, but also a little frustrating given I live less than a kilometre away from King Street! This is exciting stuff though. Particularly if you’re familiar with the mishmash of technologies and poor broadband options many people in Hobart suffer with at the moment.

    As for “ummmm” getting excited about 100mbps cable in Sydney, yeah well we’ve never had cable of any description in Hobart. ADSL2 is as good as it gets, until now..Bring on the NBN :)

    • I love how the people that are the biggest supporters of the NBN are rural users that feel they have been shunned from “society” in their internet connection and think that NBN is their only savoir

      • I’m a “rural” user? Have you been to Hobart Deteego? We may be small, but we’re still a thriving capital city of 215,000 people. I’ve had access to ADSL2 for a long time, so I don’t feel shunned in any way. I do however consider myself a socialist and care about other Australians. I am happy for my taxes to go towards other people’s internet access. Particularly friends and family I know who pay exorbitant prices for Next G wireless as they are unable to receive ADSL, simply because they are too far away from their exchange, or the exchange has been overlooked entirely as there wasn’t enough profit in if for Telstra to implement ADSL.

        But of course it’s wrong of me to think we should all have ubiquitous access to the same high speed service isn’t it? Broadband is becoming a utility. Would you not think it wrong if some people in Australia couldn’t access electricity or fresh water?

        Actually do even you give a shit about anyone other than yourself?

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