The federal government’s national broadband network will be able to provide speeds of one gigabit per second, 10 times faster than originally envisaged, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says.
Senator Conroy is accompanying Prime Minister Julia Gillard on the campaign trail in Tasmania, where NBN Co is rolling out the $43 billion network.
NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley announced the turbo-charged capacity on Thursday, following consultations with broadband retailers.
The gigabit broadband speeds would benefit businesses who required greater bandwidth for video conferencing.
The announcement was made in Tasmania where the communities of Midway Point, Scottsdale and Smithton are the first to have access to fibre to the premise on the NBN.
Senator Conroy said if the Coalition won the election those communities would lose the fast internet they presently enjoyed because of the rollout.
“We are rapidly entering a new and dramatic phase of growth in demand,” Senator Conroy said at Midway Point, east of Hobart.
“NBN Co will provide speeds … on its fibre product of one gigabit per second.”
That was 10 times the speed originally envisaged by the government.
Senator Conroy said the faster speed showed fibre technology was “truly about future-proofing” the nation.
Ms Gillard said the super-fast broadband was the economic infrastructure the Australian economy and businesses need for the future.
Residents in the Tasmanian towns with access to the fibre are paying introductory prices from $29.95 a month for 25 megabits a second to $59.95 a month for 100 megabits a second through three internet providers, she said.
Ms Gillard said as a girl she learned to type on an old Olivetti manual typewriter and it would have been foolish to say that was good enough.
“If we say what we’ve got now is basically good enough, we are actually condemning Australia to that kind of frozen-in-time attitude,” Ms Gillard said.
“Imagine missing out on all of the possibilities of the future.” Labor has slammed the coalition’s broadband plan – which will rely on a patchwork of technologies – as one for a “second-rate” network that would hold Australians back.