HIGH SPEED VISIT: Australia's Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull made a quick stop at Roma as part of his whirlwind tour of the south west.
HIGH SPEED VISIT: Australia's Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull made a quick stop at Roma as part of his whirlwind tour of the south west. Stephanie Kay

Roma's NBN satellite centre plays host to Malcolm Turnbull

MALCOLM Turnbull arrived in Roma this afternoon to tour the town's satellite centre as part of a whirlwind visit through south west Queensland.

Australia's Communication Minister saw first-hand the effects of internet connection issues when he met with parents of children who study via distance in the Maranoa electorate.

 "We've listened to a lot of the problems and we understand them," he said.

"One of the ways we fix them is with the long-term satellite and this will deliver to everybody that doesn't have broadband from fixed-line or wireless."

Roma is home to a satellite ground station the National Broadband Network have built and will play a crucial role in providing internet connectivity to isolated parts of the country.

Mr Turnbull said the satellites would become commercially available and operating by the middle of next year.

Mr Scott dubbed the two-day and two-night trip a looking, listening and experiencing tour that had been invaluable in understanding the importance of fast internet in the bush. 

 "It breaks down the tyranny of distance, you're only as far removed from a service or facility or business opportunity as the technology barrier that stands between you and what you want," he said.

Mr Scott said Roma's hosting of the satellites meant the town was a pivotal hub, providing high-speed internet to towns all over Australia.

Maranoa Regional Council mayor Robert Loughnan said Mr Turnball's visit was reassurance to residents that faster internet was finally on the way.

"Although people still a distance outside of town are still going to have problems, they're not going to have an immediate solution, this gives a lot of people some reassurance and I think the minister is pretty keen to roll it out as soon as possible, I think his enthusiasm today was pretty palpable."

The Mayor spoke with Mr Turnbull about issues he had with his own internet connectivity when recently trying to buy disposable LNG products online.

"I was about to put my winning bid in and lost all service, I had to come into Roma to bid on the rest of the sale," he said.

Matt Dawson, Program Director Satellite at NBN Co, said the satellite would be used to provide broadband where fibre and fixed wireless weren't able to.

He said the NBN would finally allow people in the bush to have the same capabilities as those in the metropolitan areas take for granted. 

"That opens up a whole new world for people who haven't had that mechanism before," Mr Dawson said.

The NBN'S roll-out is ongoing, with a target of 8 million homes connected by 2020.

To check when your NBN will be delivered to your home visit nbnco.com.au and enter your details.


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