Friday, 16 September 2011 13:07

NBN switches on in Willunga school

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Willunga High School, in the rural town of Willunga, about 47 kilometres south of Adelaide, is set to experience broadband through the National Broadband Network (NBN), as the first fibre-based site in South Australia is launched today.

 

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy, was in Willunga today to officially switch on the network. At today's launch Senator Conroy and the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Senator the Hon Penny Wong, viewed a classroom of children receiving a viticulture lesson via the NBN.

Ms Janelle Reimann, Principal of Willunga High School, the first public school on the mainland to be connected to the NBN, said the high-definition video lessons her students can now receive via the NBN, as part of the trial, offers them a much improved educational experience.

'The high-definition videoconferencing our senior students can now have with viticulture experts has been made possible via the NBN. Students doing VET Certificate 1 Food Processing (Wine) can now interact with experts, like those from SA TAFE's Regional Mount Barker Campus today, as if they were in the same room.

'Primary Industries and Resources South Australia estimate that the agriculture, food and wine industries together generate about $14 billion in annual revenue or 11 per cent of Gross State Product. Any improvements we make to the educational experience of our students in these fields could potentially enhance their job prospects in these industries,' Ms Reimann said.

The first release fibre network in Willunga covers 940 premises, with residents in approximately 91 per cent of properties having consented to the installation of optical fibre to their premises during construction to make them 'NBN ready.'

With the network now live, Willunga will enter into a trial phase due to run until October, after which people in the First Release site will be able to order services from an eligible retail service provider (RSP) of their choice. Around 150 customers have already been connected as part of the trial in Willunga, and other service activations are in the queue.

NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley said: 'Willunga is the fifth and final First Release Site for NBN Co to officially go live on the Australian mainland. We will work closely with a number of telecommunications and broadband service providers to develop the systems and processes that will support them as they deliver more services in the future.

'What's really exciting though is that today marks the start of a new era of broadband possibilities for people in Willunga's homes, businesses and schools that now have access to the NBN. We discovered in the planning process that there are more than 600 small or home businesses among the 940 premises within the Willunga First Release Site. They now have the benefits of fibre optic connections to the NBN behind them.'

The Willunga Business and Tourism Association and the Southern Success Business Enterprise Centre are making training and mentoring available for selected local small businesses to help them take advantage of high-speed* broadband services delivered via the NBN.

The South Australian Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology, and the City of Onkaparinga, have sponsored this targeted training and mentoring.

'The Willunga First Release rollout represents the collective efforts of many people, including our construction partner ETSA Utilities. They did a great job from start to finish, and went so far as to show some of their machinery to a local kindergarten so the children would learn first hand what they were doing,' Mr Quigley said.

'We also wish to thank residents for their patience and understanding during the construction phase. Thanks also to the staff of Onkaparinga City Council, especially the Mayor, Councillor Lorraine Rosenberg and their Economic Development Manager, Brian Hales, along with the retail telecommunications companies,' Mr Quigley said.

There are now more than 650 trial users in the mainland First Release sites and an estimated total of more than 1,800 end-users receiving services over the NBN including in Tasmania and via the NBN Co Interim Satellite Service.

According to NBN Co, it deliberately chose five quite diverse locations for its First Release Sites in order to test its construction capability. During the trial, NBN Co is working closely with a number of telecommunications and broadband service providers to understand what support they require to deliver services to people in the area.

So far 24 retail service providers have signed up to participate in the fibre trial phase, and 12 have passed through NBN Co's certification process and are ready to test services. They are: AAPT, AARNet, Adam Internet, Exetel, iiNet, Internode, ispONE, Nextgen Networks, Optus, Platform Networks, Primus and Telstra. Seven RSPs are currently offering services in Willunga, namely Adam Internet, Exetel, iiNet, Internode, NextGen Networks, Primus and Telstra.


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