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Quick as a flash

Thursday, 28th July, 2011

COUNTRY SNAPSHOT: Shadow Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, taking a photo of the city’s new film studio yesterday. (More pictures page 2) COUNTRY SNAPSHOT: Shadow Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, taking a photo of the city’s new film studio yesterday. (More pictures page 2)

Federal Parliament’s joint committee of the National Broadband Network, led by Rob Oakeshott, talked super fast-speed internet and film studios when they spent the day in the city yesterday.

The chairman, Mr Oakeshott, along with the Shadow Minister for Communication, Malcolm Turnbull, local MP Sussan Ley, deputy chairman Yvette D’Ath and Senator for NSW, Ursula Stephens, were here for the committee’s first hearing outside of a capital city.

It was held at the Trades Hall where they heard from members of the public and civic leaders.

Before the meeting the committee was taken on a guided tour of the newly-opened Film Studio by Mayor Wincen Cuy and Council’s General Manager, Frank Zaknich.

“We’re here to really try and promote the seven per cent of Australia. Ninety-three cent are going to have fibre and seven per cent are going to have satellite or wireless,” the independent MP told the BDT.

“I think the committee’s view is we really want to place some emphasis on the seven per cent as not the forgotten seven per cent but the priority seven per cent.

“You are sitting on a world-first trial happening a couple of kilometres away with the 100 gigabits per second trial, which is a pretty substantial speed.

“If it’s reliable, that is a service that is starting to push even NBN harder than even I thought we could.

“It’s been really valuable to come here. That was totally unexpected but that trial’s only been running for a day or two and, as I say, it’s a world-first that is going on right on your doorstep.”

Mr Oakeshott, 41, said the NBN would give a substantial boost to the way Australians do business with each other and the rest of the world.

“The power of internet itself is significant for business, particularly where your own markets are so competitive that you’re getting squeezed out.”

Mr Turnbull said the visit showed that the committee was taking the needs of country people “very seriously.”

“We’re very interested to hear what this community and other communities in non-metropolitan Australia have to say about the need for broadband access and telecommunications access more broadly,” he said.

“What we hope to hear is what they want to tell us; they write their own scripts.

“The remarks about remote communities were very interesting this morning and we’ve already spoken with the Mayor and Chief Executive of the Council at the Central Power Station, so it’ll be interesting now to discuss with them what they see as the opportunities from better broadband access for Broken Hill, both from the general community and, of course, from the point of view from local business.”

Mr Turnbull said he did not know if Broken Hill would still be the first to receive the NBN. He said that was in the Government’s hands.

But he said his party’s approach to the NBN would be to roll out better broadband services to remote towns and big cities that had “inadequate services.”

“Rather than trying to rebuild the entire communications network in one big hit, it’s better off targeting the first instance, the areas of greatest need.”


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