Switkowski defends NBN rollout

NBN Co chairman Ziggy Switkowski has defended the roll-out of the fibre network in Tasmania.

Mr Switkowski made a submission to an inquiry examining legislation introduced by Senator Anne Urquart that demands fibre to premises roll- out to 200,000 Tasmanian households.

Mr Switkowski said the bill implied fibre to interchange rather than household was "substandard".

"This is simply not the case," he said in the submission.

He said fibre to the node (FTTN) was a "proven technology" capable of very high speeds.

Mr Switkowski said using multi- technology gave NBN Co the flexibility to use existing infrastructure where it made "economic and technological sense".

Trials have been undertaken using Aurora power lines to deliver the technology to homes.

"It really doesn't matter what technology is used to provide fast broadband any more than it matters what frequency your television programs are broadcast on or where your electricity was generated," Mr Switkowski said.

"The longer it takes to roll out the NBN, the longer we must wait until all Australians can participate in the digital economy," he said.

Mr Switkowski said NBN Co would prioritise areas in the state identified as being "poorly served" in a government report.

"Giving these areas priority will mean on average they get upgraded two years sooner," he said.

TasICT executive officer Dean Winter said the North-West of the state had the worst service.

"People living in Devonport and Burnie are in no-man's land when it comes to telecommunications," Mr Winter said.

Mr Switkowski also identified in the submission the need to improve delivery of the NBN with internet providers, and that a third of houses that received NBN fibre had been unable to order the service.

He said NBN Co had now instructed contractors building the network to install "lead ins' and connection boxes to homes and businesses as they want to speed up the process.

Mr Switkowski acknowledged that contract issues between NBN Co and Visionstream had slowed down the roll-out in the state "considerably", and they had been working to rebuild the relationship.

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