Internet users in regional and remote Australia are being promised download speeds under the National Broadband Network that are faster than those currently available to city users of the copper wire network.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today announced the NBN would push ahead with plans to provide 25 megabits per second (mbps) download speeds over the fixed wireless network. It will have a 5 megabits per second upload speed.
He says the same speeds will now also be offered to remote users of the NBN through the satellite service, following negotiations with the satellite's manufacturers.
"25/5 is better than metro users today. If you live in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane and you're using the copper network today - ADSL 2+ - it's inferior to the satellite that we'll be delivering," Senator Conroy said.
He says that will provide satellite-based internet speeds that are some of the best in the world once they are launched in 2015.
"The price for customers for the 25/5 mbps service on fixed wireless and satellite will be the same as that charged for 25/5 mbps fibre services at around $40 per month."
"This improvement in speeds on the fixed wireless and the satellite is part of our ongoing aim to keep bringing the best technology," he told reporters in Bungendore, outside Canberra.
He says the company also expects to upgrade speeds available over the fibre optic network from next year, meaning customers will get access to 1 gigabits per second download speeds as opposed to the 100 megabits per second speeds currently available.
The NBN has been a key difference between the major parties over recent years. The Coalition argues faster internet speeds could be provided for a fraction of the cost by installing fibre optic cables to neighbourhood nodes instead of peoples' homes.
"All Australians will have access to very fast broadband sooner and at less cost to the taxpayer and more affordably to them than they would under Labor," he said.
"The total cost of our project, I cannot put a dollar amount on it, but it will be much less than what Labor will spend."
Mr Quigley says the NBN is being rolled out as quickly as possible. Senator Conroy expects the network will have between 80,000 and 90,000 users by the middle of this year.