No word on NBN in Tasmania

FUTURE National Broadband Network rollout for Tasmania remains in the fibre-optic dark as the Australian government stays tight-lipped on information from an expected NBN Co Strategic Review.

NBN Co chairman Ziggy Switkowski said he hoped to deliver a draft report of the review to shareholder ministers by close- of-business yesterday.

A federal government spokesman said no comment could be made about the report until the government had time to assess its recommendations.

The spokesman was unable to confirm arrival of the document when The Examiner called at 5pm.

Premier Lara Giddings yesterday urged the federal government to respond to an Aurora Energy proposal that suggests running fibre along power poles.

"I believe the time is right for the federal government to end the uncertainty here in Tasmania," Ms Giddings said.

"The proposal I submitted would see fibre to the home delivered up to four to six times cheaper than the cost of running cabling underground, so the federal government has no excuse not to get this project going."

Ms Giddings said if the scheme was approved, NBN Co would also pay for line rental and hold responsibility for its maintenance.

Dr Switkowski endorsed the state proposal in senate estimates last week and, in a letter sent to the government last Friday, said final outcomes of the NBN review would be relayed early next year.

"Aurora's design and engineering expertise in utilising their electricity infrastructure for aerial optic fibre is well recognised," he wrote. "Their views in the proposal will be considered as part of our strategic review."

Dr Switkowski said NBN Co would continue to work with the energy company during the rollout phases.

TasICT executive officer Dean Winter said it was doubtful that any information from the report would be publicly released in the near future.

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