Free optical fibre installation for Armidale and Townsville residents

NBN Co Limited has offered Armidale and Townsville residents the chance to sign up for super-fast broadband.

The company behind Australia’s $43 billion National Broadband Network has urged residents to sign the consent form to allow the thin fibre optic cables be laid from the street to residents’ businesses or residential properties.

NBN chief executive officer Mike Quigley has given residents until September 7, 2010 to sign the consent forms. If property owners sign up after this date, they may be required to pay a fee for the fibre optic cable installation.

Mr Quigley said: “Residents in the First Release Site can expect a letter from me within the next week in their mailbox and an accompanying consent form.

"By signing this consent form, you don’t have to cancel your existing phone or internet service. It simply gives you a chance to prepare yourself for the opportunity to be part of the NBN at a time of your choosing.”

While the installation of the fibre optic cables will generally be free, if the property owner requires a different configuration or if the standard installation requires particular attention a fee may apply. Once the network is active, residents will be able to apply for fibre optic plans through an internet service provider.

The super-fast broadband network will provide residents with download speeds of up to 100 Megabits per second to up to 93% of Australians. According to a ‘State of the Internet’ report from Akamai technologies, the current average connection speed in Australia is 2,613kbps (approximately 2.6 Megabits).

The two cities were named ‘testing areas’ for Australia’s new National Broadband Network back in March this year, along with the suburb of Brunswick in Melbourne, the rural town of Willunga South Australia, and the communities of Kiama Downs and Minnamurra in NSW.

In 2011, construction will begin at a further 19 sites across Australia. However, the Liberal Party has promised Australians they will scrap the Government's National Broadband Network if they are elected later this month.