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Launch of nbn Sky Muster II satellite

E & OE

FIFIELD:

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.

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