E & OE
Well, thanks very much indeed, Peter. And to you, Bill Morrow, and the entire nbn global Sky Muster team, I say congratulations for a successful launch.
It gives me great delight as Minister to be able to declare again that “thunderbirds are go!”
The sister satellite to Sky Muster is now in the sky. And as exciting as the launch of a satellite is, what today really is all about is what the satellite itself can do for Australians. How it can connect Australians in regional and remote areas to the National Broadband Network. And as the name Sky Muster suggests, what the satellite is about is corralling and connecting Australians in remote and regional areas to the nbn network.
And that really is the premise of the nbn: that no Australian household will be left behind. By 2020, every Australian household will have the opportunity to connect to the nbn.
Already, through the Sky Muster satellite, there are 30,000 premises who are connected. Ultimately, there’ll be around 200-250,000 premises connected to the nbn through the satellite.
And the story of the nbn to date is a great one. Already, more than 25 per cent of the nation are connected to, or have the opportunity to connect to, the nbn. That’s about 3.2 million premises who have that opportunity. About 1.3 million premises have already taken up that chance to be part of the nbn.
By the middle of next year, 50 per cent of the nation will be connected to the nbn. By the middle of the following year, 75 per cent of the nation, and by 2020, the entire country will be able to connect to the National Broadband Network.
So this is a story of tremendous change over a very short period of time. What was essentially a failed project when we came into government in 2013 is now on track and on budget, and has met every key milestone over the last nine or ten quarters.
Can I again say congratulations to the nbn team. This isn’t about the nbn as an end in itself. This is all about what broadband can do for Australian households and businesses. And it’s particularly important for regional Australia. Of the nbn network that has been established to date, 70 per cent of it is in non-metropolitan Australia.
And we’re fortunate to have with us today, the General Manager of the NSW Grain Growers Association, Michael Southan, who is going to talk to us a little bit about what Sky Muster can do for regional communities and regional businesses.