Broadband switched on in central Vic

HOUSEHOLDS across central Victoria will now be able to tweet, click and download to their heart's content, due to the official switch-on of the National Broadband Network yesterday.

More than 25 communities and 2600 households will be able to take up the fast broadband, with the initiative being commemorated yesterday in a ceremony attended by iPrimus representatives, Mount Alexander Shire Mayor Michael Redden and M2 Group consumer director Boris Rozenvasser.

NBN spokesman Trent Williams said people who wanted to make the switch should contact internet providers to find the best deal for them.

"We're bringing fast broadband to the bush," Mr Williams said.

"These fast, fixed wireless services are designed to deliver internet speeds that many in the big cities take for granted today."

Mr Williams said fast internet service was especially beneficial to those in remote areas, who often had to drive long distances for services such as healthcare.

But he said with high-speed internet, rural outpatients could be seen by their healthcare professional remotely. 

"With high-defintion videos doctors can talk and examine," Mr Williams said.

iBendigo Loddon Mallee chairman Bruce Winzar said tele-health services could save regional Victorian families time and money.

"Some special consultations in the city may be reduced from a full day, including travel and waiting time, to around 30 minutes, via a tele-health consultation on the NBN," Mr Winzar said.

Mr Williams said high-speed internet was a necessity in today's world.

"Getting good-quality information is absolutely crucial; in regional Australia more so than anywhere else.

"In a country as big as Australia communication has almost been a constitutional right."

Mr Williams said his message to country people was simple.

 "If you can get on the NBN, get on it," he said.

"It's very easy to get on; you literally choose your preferred service provider, ring them up and ask to be connected to the NBN."

The NBN is being rolled out in communities across the country.

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