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The Federal and Tasmanian governments have confirmed that the build-out of the National Broadband Network will begin in Tasmania. Construction is expected to begin in July.

During yesterday's announcement that the proposed NBN had been revamped as a fibre to the premises network, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy revealed there would be negotiations with the Tasmanian government to begin the rollout in that state.

The two governments have now confirmed that will happen.

The Tasmanian government and Aurora Energy will build a FTTP network to 200,000 households and businesses, all hospitals, and nearly 90 percent of schools.

Aurora has previously flirted with broadband over power line (BPL) technology.

Despite being reportedly pleased with the results of a trial in Hobart, it was abandoned in November 2007, a little over two years after the initial announcement.

The FTTP network will be complemented by a wireless network to be constructed by the state government as well as satellite services.

Together these will deliver speeds of at least 12Mbps to parts of the state not serviced by fibre.

According to government officials, Tasmania currently has a lower proportion of households with broadband (39 percent) than any other state or territory.

The national average is 52 percent, though the figure is higher in metropolitan areas and among households with children under 15.

The plan is based on the Tasmanian government's response to the original NBN request for proposal.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.

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