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Friday, 09 July 2010 09:42

Lundy paved path for NBN Gungahlin roll-out


The early roll-out of the national broadband network to the northern Canberra suburb of Gungahlin is a victory for community advocacy, and ACT Senator Kate Lundy can rightly claim a large chunk of the credit.

Anyone who has sat through a Senate communications committee meeting in the past ten years will have heard of the internet access issues in the Gungahlin areas. Senator Lundy has used Estimates hearings to highlight access issues, usually involving running battles with Telstra representatives and former Ministers from Richard Alston to Daryl Williams to Helen Coonan.

The NBN Company's chief executive Mike Quigley has named 19 new locations as 'second release' sites for early fibre roll-out, of which Gungahlin was the first in the ACT.

The area has had diabolical internet access speeds, largely the result of it being serviced by RIM technology on the Telstra network. Gungahlin also missed out on cable roll-outs because it the lacked telegraph poles that enabled the cable companies more economic roll-out costs.

The site is initially modest in size, covering an initial 3,000 homes in the area. But for those campaigning for improvement, it's a big win.

"This is fantastic news and I am really pleased NBN Co has recognised the importance of resolving the broadband blockages endured for far too long by Gungahlin residents," Senator Lundy said.

"The (full) rollout is going to take a number of years so to have 3000 households in Gungahlin getting the NBN first is going to be a wonderful example of how we can all benefit," she said.

Local broadband campaigner Russ Gillon and Gungahlin Community Council have been active in grassroots campaigns for improvements. Their success in attracting the attention of the NBN Co illustrates how important local involvement will be to the NBN roll-out nationwide.

It is no surprise that Armidale was also selected given how proactive the independent Member for New England Tony Windsor has been in encouraging local councils and businesses to do early preparation work in anticipation of the fibre roll-out.

Senator Lundy said the Gungahlin community had been "long suffering with all the dramas about Telstra's poor service to the area, Telstra's use of not only inadequate but inappropriate infrastructure as Gungahlin has been built out has meant many people have been left with a substandard services for many, many years."

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