NBN trial may lead to full-fibre

A LARGE-SCALE trial of an aerial NBN roll out using Aurora Energy power poles will improve Tasmania's chances of securing full-fibre to the premises according to Liberal Leader Will Hodgman.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday said NBN Co was seriously considering trials, after Mr Hodgman proposed the idea at a meeting in Sydney on Wednesday.

Details including the size, timing and location of the trial are yet to be finalised, but Mr Hodgman said it would include inner suburbs and regional areas.

Mr Hodgman said a "real world" trial was necessary despite heavy use of Aurora's power poles during the first two stages of the NBN roll-out in Tasmania.

"The precise purpose of the trial is to understand exactly how this deployment will work effectively over a larger scale and also the real cost," Mr Hodgman said.

He said it was a significant step forward on the issue that has dogged him this week.

"It does make the reality of getting fibre to the premises a more likely outcome if this work is undertaken in a strategic way understanding all the issues."

Premier Lara Giddings dismissed it as a "desperate construct" to save his political skin.

About 4000 premises were passed using aerial deployment in Stage 1 of the NBN rollout.

It's estimated it costs about $400 per metre to roll out optic fibre underground, compared to just $65 using power poles.

"The reason we know it works and we know it's cheaper is because it has already been done," Ms Giddings said.

However, TasICT supported the need for a trial.

"Things have changed since the first rollout," TasICT executive officer Dean Winter said.

He hoped the trial would be completed by the end of the year.

The Tasmanian Liberal Leader was also accused yesterday of misleading voters about the purpose of his Sydney trip after it emerged the visit had been arranged since December so he could attend a Bruce Springsteen concert with his son.

Greens Leader Nick McKim questioned Mr Hodgman's handling of the trip.

"I have got no problems with Will taking his son to a concert, good luck to him, but it does call into question how badly he wants the job as Premier and also his judgment in not being entirely up- front with the Tasmanian people about why he was taking the trip," Mr McKim said.

Mr Hodgman, who paid for the trip, said he had a great night.

"I upheld a commitment to my son, but I also delivered a positive outcome for Tasmania. It's a win- win," Mr Hodgman said.


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