Maps put regional NBN rollout in doubt

Trevor Veale

THE rollout of the National Broadband Network to towns across regional Queensland and north New South Wales is in doubt, after changes to rollout maps.

Changes were made this week to the NBN Co's rollout maps, with one and three year roll-out plans removed from the corporation's website.

The removal of towns across regional areas of the country has left many in doubt as to whether they will get the broadband connections promised by the previous government.

Towns which are no longer listed as receiving the NBN at all included Yeppoon, Bundaberg, Maryborough, Gympie, Dalby, Byron Bay and Lismore.

Other areas not listed include Gin Gin, Dysart, Childers, Cooroy, St George and Goondiwindi in Queensland and Ballina, Casino, Lennox Head and Murwillumbah in north New South Wales.

While the Coalition has not confirmed whether the changes will relate to removal of such areas from the roll-out, changes to what will be provided, and when, will be considered under a strategic review of the NBN.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Thursday the NBN was "way over budget" under the previous government, describing the changes to the online roll-out maps as "the first time people are being honest" about the roll-out.

He reiterated the Coalition's election promise that every house in Australia will still get broadband access of 25MBPs by 2015, but did not detail when regional areas could expect the connections.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said the earlier maps were "misleading", as they listed areas under construction that were only at a planning stage.

However, the removal of the overall three-year plans has put more than thousands of homes and businesses, particularly in regional areas, under a cloud of uncertainty.
Mr Turnbull has previously said the final roll-out plans, and the actual technology to be provided under the Coalition's schedule, would be provided after the review is completed later this year.

Topics:  nbn regional australia

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