NBN Co selects contractors for mainland fibre roll out

Brunswick, Armidale, Minnamurra/Kiama, Townsville and Wilunga find out who will be deploying the NBN in their area

NBN Co has selected the contractors it wants to roll out the first fibre on the mainland to the initial five release sites of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

In a statement, NBN Co chief executive, Mike Quigley, also said homes and businesses in the first five sites would receive free connections to the fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network.

The first five sites and the construction contract winners are:

  • Minnamurra and Kiama Downs districts near Wollongong in NSW, Transfield Services
  • Wilunga in South Australia, ETSA Utilities
  • Armidale in NSW, Silcar
  • Townsville in Queensland, Ergon Energy
  • and in Brunswick in Victoria NBN Co is in negotiations with Telstra to use the telco’s infrastructure.

“The sites will have a mix of underground and aerial deployment determined by a combination of factors, including the availability of existing underground ducts or overhead power poles to access premises,” Quigley said in the statement.

Construction on the passive fibre network is expected to commence “in the second half of the calander year” and will be followed by the deployment of network equipment (from Alcatel-Lucent) and then integration with retail service providers.

In a statement to the ASX, Transfield Services managing director, Peter Goode, described the contract win as “an exciting opportunity to be part of what is set to be one of Australia’s most significant infrastructure projects ever undertaken”.

The value of the contracts were not revealed.

Last week, NBN Co announced a further 19 mainland trial sites, in addition to the five existing trial sites on the Australian mainland, where construction will begin this month.

(View the maps of the mainland NBN sites.)

The five second release sites listed above will expand the coverage of the first sites to an additional 3000 residents in each of the areas, while the other 14 are completely new choices by NBN Co, which will each see 3000 homes connected.

The entire list of second release sites are:

  • Victoria: Bacchus Marsh, South Morang (Melbourne)
  • Queensland: Brisbane (inner north), Springfield Lakes, Toowoomba
  • NSW: Riverstone (western Sydney), Coffs Harbour
  • South Australia: – Modbury, Prospect
  • Western Australia: Victoria Park (Perth), Geraldton, Mandurah
  • Northern Territory: Casuarina
  • ACT: Gungahlin

This week Computerworld Australia revealed NBN Co could spend up to $1 billion on two KA band satellites to deliver NBN services to Australian households unable to access coverage via fibre or wireless.

The plan, announced at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia’s (CEDA) recent 2010 ICT Review conference in South Australia by NBN Co chief executive officer, Mike Quigley, will see two satellites launched to deliver around two per cent of the total capacity of the NBN.

It was also revealed the optical networking terminal (ONT) infrastructure provided by Alcatel-Lucent to NBN Co would be unique to Australia.

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