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What the Papers Say

NBN switched on in towns

Karratha and Roebourne have become the first Pilbara towns to be switched onto the National Broadband Network in their entirety.

About 8000 homes and businesses across the two towns are now able to access the NBN's fibre-to-the-node technology after a final 2000 properties in central Karratha, Millars Well, Peg's Creek and the Light Industrial Area were connected last week, joining Roebourne, which was connected in December.

It signifies the completion of the NBN's installation in Karratha, which began construction in Apri,l while six months later several suburbs became the first few which were able to connect.

NBN Co Pilbara local manager Jane McNamara said the completion of the NBN in Karratha was a milestone which would improve home and business internet use.

"This is exciting news for Karratha as it means that homes and businesses are now able to connect to services over the NBN access network through their preferred phone or internet provider," she said.

"The community will join more than 6.1 million other premises across Australia that are currently able to enjoy the benefits of the NBN network, with more than 730,000 of those in Western Australia." 

Durack MHR Melissa Price said the NBN represented good value for money and she was pleased the network had finished switching on in Karratha.

However, despite the project's completion, operators of several Karratha business hubs are opting to use the alternative technology of fibre-tothe-premises over fibre-to-the-node, including the Karratha Quarter and the under- development small business incubator, Karratha Enterprise Hub. 

Business Centre Pilbara chief executive Paul Jagger said concerns with the speed and reliability of the NBN's fibre-to-the-node infrastructure meant they would pay extra to offer what they believed was a better option when the building opened in coming months.

He said a recent Business Centre survey of local businesses had found 97 per cent of respondents believed a fast and reliable internet service was either very important or important for their operations.

"Having the fastest possible connection to the internet is really important to a lot of businesses, especially those whose business depends a lot on connectivity to the worldwide web," he said.

"So we . . . see it as critical that we offer the best possible service that is available and that is one that you have to pay additional for, which is fibre-tothe-premises." Works to set up the NBN are continuing in Dampier, Port Sampson and Wickham, which are scheduled to be connected by March. Tom Price, Paraburdoo and Exmouth are expected to switch on in May.

Source: Pilbara News 

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