Launceston just became Australia’s first ‘gigabit’ city with NBN 10 times faster than the rest of us

Kings Bridge, Launceston

A Tasmanian NBN retailer has launched a business broadband plan for the city of Launceston that can run at gigabit speeds — 100 times faster than the national average.

For $995 plus GST per month, Launceston premises that have NBN fibre-to-the-premises can, as of Tuesday, can subscribe to Launtel’s new 1000Mbps (also known as 1Gbps) plan with unlimited data and 10 unlimited virtual phone lines.

Fibre-to-the-premises was the configuration favoured by the old Labor government, which completely eliminates old copper telephone lines but is more expensive to deploy. The coalition government later abandoned this for cheaper methods that still retain copper for the last metres into a building.

So for most Australians, the fastest retail tier currently available is 100Mbps. But with Launceston one of the first areas that the NBN has rolled out to, the city is fortunate enough to have areas covered by fibre-to-the-premises and are therefore can access such lightning speeds.

The 1000Mbps compares to an Australian average of 10.1Mbps for the last quarter of 2016 — good for 51st in the world. Longtime international leader South Korea averages 26.1Mbps among its citizens.

“Only 76 per cent of Australians have speeds above 4Mbps — we’ll be delivering 1,000Mbps,” said Launtel founder and managing director Damian Ivereigh.

Brisbane internet service provider SkyMesh in February started offering 200Mbps services by splitting up a gigabit pipe from the NBN, but Launtel is understood to be the first to retail a true gigabit plan.

Ivereigh said the extreme internet speeds would open up new doors for the Launceston business community, citing the US city of Chattanooga as an example of an area that’s experienced an economic boom from gigabit infrastructure.

“Fast communications will facilitate business with any of the developed countries, without having to leave home. For instance, gigabit speeds will allow a local business to control robots overseas through virtual reality.”

Launtel stated that Launceston now joins elite company in the gigabit club, sitting alongside global cities such as Singapore, Amsterdam, Moscow, Toronto, Barcelona and Hyderabad.

The internet service provider, specialising in voice-over-internet, started in 2007 and targets small to medium businesses in Tasmania.