NBN Co readies 2015 finish date for Tasmania

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NBN Co readies 2015 finish date for Tasmania

NBN Co has awarded a $300 million contract to Leighton Holdings subsidiary Visionstream that will bring fibre connections to 200,000 homes and businesses in Tasmania within four years.

The network builder said today Visionstream would install gigabit passive optical networking (GPON) infrastructure for homes around the state.

It will ultimately replace existing copper connections to most homes in the state under NBN Co's contract with Telstra.

The Visionstream deal will provide fibre to all remaining eligible homes and businesses in Tasmania after a two-stage trial of network installation in the state that reached approximately 10,000 homes in ten areas.

The first stages had been rolled out under contract with state utility Aurora Energy. Additional work in the state was carried out by Opticomm, BSA and another Leighton subsidiary, John Holland.

"It's appropriate that the state that was the first to be connected to the NBN will be the first where the [fixed] rollout will be complete," NBN Co chief operations officer Ralph Steffens said.

Visionstream's contract will only cover those premises receiving fibre connections. Those outside the fibre serving areas will be served by fixed wireless or satellite connectivity.

Those aspects of the national network are also expected for completion by 2015.

Visonstream said the work is broken into three packages comprising passive fibre network construction, field services delivery, and network augmentation and restoration.

The telecommunications services firm is already building NBN Co's transit network and the fixed wireless network, the latter under a subcontract with Ericsson.

Its latest contract means it has now secured in excess of $750 million of NBN work in less than nine months.

"Visionstream's project construction for NBN Tasmania is set to commence within the next few months with the team currently mobilising and undertaking design and surveying," a spokesman for the company said.

Communications minister Stephen Conroy welcomed the contract.

"Today's announcement means NBN Co has now established a program of construction works for the entirety of the NBN fibre rollout in Tasmania," he said.

"It will establish a permanent NBN maintenance workforce in Tasmania, creating more job
opportunities for Tasmanians."

A three-year indicative rollout plan for the NBN is expected shortly. It will shed light - among other things - on the remaining rollout schedule for fixed NBN connections in Tasmania.

Also announced today was funding for an accredited training program to equip Tasmanian workers with the skills needed to work on the NBN construction.

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