The National Broadband Network has gone live today for the first time on mainland Australia.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy launched the service at a secondary school in Northern New South Wales.

Kayla Brereton reports.


It was first launched in Tasmania last year and now it’s been turned on for residents in the country town of Armidale.

The NBN, the National Broadband Network, one of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s few election promises that’s been delivered.

And when she launched it she said it was an opportunity for these users to enter the 21st century.

Julia Gillard, Prime Minister: “That is what the NBN is about; new economic opportunities, new ways of delivering, health services and education.”

Communication Minister Stephen Conroy says the new technology will benefit every area it services.

Stephen Conroy, Communications Minister: “We are going to see more competition, we are going to see faster speeds and we are going to see cheaper prices.”

Armidale is one of five test sites where fibre optic cable has been laid for the broadband network.

The initial testing will start with just seven customers but that number will expand on a weekly basis.

The Opposition says the choice of Armidale as the first test city was a deliberate political move. It’s Independent Tony Windsor’s electorate.

Barnaby Joyce, Senator: “It makes sense she would be going to one of her staunchest supporters to be part and parcel of carrying favour in his electorate.”

But Labor has laughed off the claim saying the site was chosen long before the election.

Stephen Conroy, Communications Minister: “We will not be distracted from delivering world class education services, world class health services.”

Areas in Melbourne, Townsville, coastal New South Wales and South Australia will also be switched on in coming months.

Kayla Brereton, QUT News.