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Gungahlin leads NBN take-up rates

With dial-up modems and snail's pace internet a thing of the past, just what can Canberra residents expect from the national broadband network?

On Tuesday, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said more than 4000 Gungahlin homes and businesses had joined the NBN - the fastest take-up rates in the country.

Once installed, the NBN will offer download speeds of up to 100 megabits a second, or about eight times faster than the best ADSL broadband speeds currently available.

High-definition television channels operate at about six to eight megabits a second, while next generation 4K television and movie content will require higher than 25 megabits a second. About 7 per cent of homes will get 25 megabits a second via fixed wireless or satellite connections.

Released this week, the Coalition's plan would lead to 71 per cent of homes receiving 25 megabits a second, roughly twice today's Australian average.

An NBN Co spokesman said on Wednesday eight retailers were already offering NBN packages to residents in Canberra's north, with wholesale prices starting at $24 a month.

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Retailers including iiNet, Telstra, Optus and TransACT have a range of packages available to retail customers, including 24 megabits-a-second broadband connections capable of providing multiple high-definition movie streams simultaneously.

Comparison website whistleout.com.au lists various retail packages available to Canberra customers, including a 500 gigabytes NBN package at $100 per month.

TransACT customers signing up for the NBN-3 Fastest package in Canberra can buy 500 gigabytes on peak and 500 gigabytes off peak for $99.95 per month. Optus customers in early roll-out sites, including Gungahlin, can buy 500 gigabytes for $100 per month.

An Australian Communications Consumer Action Network study found retail prices for NBN packages were the same or less than for ADSL broadband over the copper phone lines.

''ACCAN found that 49 per cent of people surveyed said the NBN had no real impact on the amount they paid for internet access and 14 per cent said they were paying less than before,'' the spokesman said.

NBN construction has started or is complete for as many as 20,000 ACT premises, including in parts of Civic, Palmerston and Amaroo.

Canberra's NBN roll-out is due to be completed in 2015.

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