The first National Broadband Site has been opened by Prime Minister in Armidale, New South Wales, while also taking the opportunity to announce additional funding for digital education as part of the Digital Regions Initiative.


The Prime Minister has announced funding for a new digital education trial as part of the Digital Regions Initiative, a four-year $60 million program to fund digital enablement projects in remote Australia. The University of New England and the New England Institute of TAFE will also be involved in the initiative.


“The trial will use the power of this [broadband] technology to provide state of the art virtual interactive training rooms, laboratories and community learning capability,” Ms Gillard said.


“This is education… that overcomes the tyranny of time and distance that has so often held back regional Australia back.”


From September, 2900 premises in Armidale will have access to the new NBN service,  provided by AAPT, Optus, SkyMesh and for the first time, Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA).


The launch of the NBN site at Armidale is one of five sites currently slated to be opened  in areas in Melbourne, Townsville, coastal New South Wales and South Australia will also be switched on in coming months.


The launch at Armidale comes as NBN Co chief Mike Quigley has stated it is unlikely that the company was going to meet all of its milestones for rolling out nationally due to the finalizing of its $11 billion infrastructure deal.


The $11 billion deal is currently pending approval of Telstra’s shareholders while Mr Quigley has told a parliamentary inquiry that the finalization of the deal could be months away.