Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, has hit back at reports of low customer numbers connected at the National Broadband Network (NBN) trial site in Armidale.
Media outlets raised attention to the fact only a handful of Armidale customers, as low as seven, had connection to the NBN at launch. Armidale is one of the five mainland trial sites to be switched on this year.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Senator Conroy attended a launch ceremony at Presbyterian Ladies Collegue yesterday.
The Federal Government has claimed around 88 per cent of Armidale residents have flagged interest in taking on the NBN.
Senator Conroy called the focus on low customer numbers on the first day of the NBN launch in the town “misleading and ironic”.
“Media reports highlighting the few residents who have been carrying out initial testing on the network do not represent the level of interest, or the fact the copper network will be decommissioned as part of the agreement between Telstra and NBN Co, which is currently being finalised,” he said in a statement.
Senator Conroy claimed it was a sensible and responsible approach to allow a small group to test the network for glitches before connecting customers up en mass.
"In the meantime I look forward to more customers coming onto the NBN in Armidale and I also look forward to launching the other first release sites in the coming months,” he said in a statement. Senator Conroy said the agreement, which is being finalised between NBN Co and Telstra, will see Telstra decommission its copper network. This means as the NBN rolls out, almost every fixed line to a home will be an NBN connection.
"In the meantime I look forward to more customers coming onto the NBN in Armidale and I also look forward to launching the other first release sites in the coming months."