Eligible users in the first five mainland sites of the National Broadband Network (NBN) could potentially choose from 12 retail service providers (RSP) who have signed agreements with the network wholesaler to provide access on the network.
The RSPs, which include many of those already offering services in Tasmania, will undergo on-boarding processes onto the network ahead of a September go-live date for the first mainland sites.
Armidale will be the first of the five test sites to begin testing the network, with iiNet, Internode, iPrimus and Telstra - all of which have already begun offering services to users in Tasmania - running preliminary tests over the network at the release sites with a limited set of end-users.
“These four RSPs are expected to be the first to connect customers to the national broadband network on mainland Australia when they begin connecting customers as part of the end-user trial to begin in Armidale in the near future," NBN Co's head of product development and sales, Jim Hassell, said in a statement.
“The trial will extend to the other first release sites in the months following to eventually cover several hundred end-users,” he said. “This testing phase is a critical step in building the network, working with RSPs and integrating our operating systems as we aim to provide the best possible service when commercial services commence.”
The remaining eight RSPs will begin the on-boarding process, by which NBN Co works with RSPs to prepare them for accessing the network effectively, in preparation for participation in the first release site end-user trials.
According to Hassell, the 12 RSPs chosen represent 95 per cent of the existing market in the first release sites. However, it is unclear whether all RSPs will provide services to all five release sites. Education network provider, AARNet, for instance, is likely to provide services at the University of New England campus at Armidale, but it remains unknown whether it will on-sell NBN services to other sites. The RSP was contacted for comment.
Brisbane-based Comscentre, one of the RSPs chosen, said it would largely targeted its existing customer bases of businesses for services under the NBN.
“This is great news for Comscentre and our business customers who will gain a competitive advantage from the increased speeds available from the network," Comscentre managing director Ben Shipley said in a statement. "We look forward to being one of the first service providers on the mainland to deliver this technology.”
Hassell said the opportunity remained open for other RSPs to offer services on the network. The 12 RSPs include:
- Nextgen Networks
- Platform Networks
Internode managing director, Simon Hackett, said in a statement that the provider supported the NBN as the best way to future-proof telecommunications in Australia for the next 50 years.
“Accordingly, Internode is very committed to the NBN and expects to engaged with NBN Co in every new service area on the day that each service area opens up in the future,” he said.
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