NBN Co, the public-private company set up to oversee the construction and management of the in-development National Broadband Network (NBN), has announced the first tier of retail services providers to have signed up to offer services over the new infrastructure. According to iTWire, NBN Co has said that it remains on target for the launch of end-user trials across the first five release sites on the mainland in September 2010, while the first four operators that have been declared as NBN-ready – Telstra, iiNet, Internode and iPrimus – are expected to be the first to connect customers as part of trials due to start in Armidale in the near future. These four operators will work with NBN Co in conducting preliminary network tests over the NBN, with each selecting a limited number of their existing users to take part in the trials. The other eight ISPs confirmed to have signed up with NBN Co are: AAPT, AARNnet, Comscentre, Exetel, Nextgen Networks, Optus, Platform Networks, and SkyMesh. All of these are now expected to begin the ‘on-boarding process’ – a programme under which NBN Co works with service providers to prepare them for accessing the network effectively and efficiently – in preparation for participation in the first release site end-user trials.
NBN Co Head of Product Development and Sales, Jim Hassell, said of the development: ‘As a wholesale provider of broadband services, NBN Co is building the infrastructure to enable retail service providers to offer services to home and business customers … I am therefore pleased to announce that twelve retail service providers have so far committed to offer services over the NBN. These RSPs comprise small and large-scale service providers and represent over 95% of the market in the first release sites.’