At the opening event Bartlett inspected the work being carried out to install fibre optic cable between Bellerive to Howrah for Aurora Energy Telecommunications, the Government's telecommunications partner and a shareholder along with the national NBN Co in the Tasmanian NBN Company.
The 5km fibre will connect the new Aurora Energy telecommunications joint pit in Bellerive to the Telstra Howrah Telstra Exchange and on to the South Arm Highway.
Abigroup Contractors is a diverse national contractor with experience in delivering works in telecommunications, building, roads, rail, water, mining services, tunnels and bridges. It is part of Bilfinger Berger Australia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bilfinger Berger AG, one of the world's largest multiservice construction companies. Apache Services (formerly Apache Earthworks) specialises in laying pipes and cables by horizontal direct drilling (HDD) and conventional trenching methods.
Bartlett claimed that "Abigroup-Apache represents the first wave of new investment and job opportunities in Tasmania as a result of the optic fibre roll out...The Bellerive to Howrah fibre optic cable project has created local jobs and upskilling opportunities for local Tasmanians. As Abigroup is a registered trainer, workers will gain formal qualifications as well as valuable skills for future projects."
However there has been no indication given that the JV has won any contracts to roll out any of the NBN in Tasmania. Nevertheless, Bartlett got rather carried away on the subject of the NBN claiming that: "By 2014 Tasmania will be the most connected place on the planet."
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