Fri, July 30, 2010
Sci-Tech > Technology

Australia's broadband network expands to 93% of nation

2010-07-30 10:02:18 GMT2010-07-30 18:02:18 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

CANBERRA, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Australian Labor Party's national broadband network (NBN) on Friday sets to deliver super fast fiber optic cable Internet access to 300,000 more premises than originally envisaged.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, campaigning in Perth, said the 43 billion dollars (38.7 billion U.S. dollars) network was being rolled out on time and on budget. About half of households and businesses in the only three state Tasmanian towns connected to the network have been accessing the service, a faster rate of uptake than many expected.

Gillard and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy on Friday released maps showing the network's coverage had expanded to 93 percent of the nation.

Building the network was about jobs, about 25,000 of them, the prime minister said.

"Not building the NBN would effectively export jobs of the future from this country to countries in our region," Gillard told reporters in Perth, pointing to Singapore, South Korea and Japan.

The network aimed to give Australian children a world-class education by giving them a world-class technology, Gillard said.

The opposition is not convinced about the cost, citing estimates that rolling out the network could cost more than 80 billion dollars (72 billion U.S. dollars).

"If that were the case it would represent many times the amount of taxpayers' money spent on pink batts and school halls," finance spokesman Andrew Robb told Australian Associated Press.

"This is potentially billions of dollars of borrowed money without the slightest regard for taxpayers."

The rollout of the NBN will take eight years.

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