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    NBN rollout ramps up in Cairns

    After a long wait, thousands of homes and businesses across Cairns are finally getting access to the National Broadband Network.

    Nearly 9000 homes and businesses from Edmonton to Westcourt have been switched on to the National Broadband Network in the past fortnight, with thousands more joining them online in coming months.

    New information on the NBN rollout shows a further 25,000 homes across Cairns will have access to the NBN by October.

    Parts of Edmonton and Bentley Park were switched on to the NBN on May 13, and 3200 premises in Earlville, Mooroobool, Westcourt, and Bungalow) were hooked up on May 20.

    Construction of NBN terminals is currently under way in parts of Manunda, Kanimbla, Brinsmead, Mooroobool, Earlville, Woree, Bayview Heights, White Rock, Mount Sheridan, Bentley Park and Edmonton.

    A further 400 premises in Mossman and Kuranda will get access to fixed Wireless services between August and October this year. 

    Tropic Now technology director Can Kara said access to the NBN was critical to businesses in the tropical north.

    "The fact is we are behind some third world countries when it comes to internet speed," he said.

    "To compensate for the long travel distances and transport we face, plus to allow us to use cloud- based technologies, we need fast and reliable Internet.

    "In my opinion we need to put the same priority on high-speed broadband infrastructure as we put on roads to help us maintain a competitive position in the global economy.

    "Apart from the importance of tourism to our regional economy, we need fast and reliable communication infrastructure to build new income streams."

    The latest update on the NBN rollout in the tropical north couldn't be more timely with new data showing Australians are consuming an extraordinary amount of online content.

    The recently released Australian Bureau of Statistics Internet Activity report shows we downloaded a total of 6 million terabytes of data in 2015. That's a 45 per cent year-on-year increase and the equivalent of 13 billion hours of online content.

    According to the NBN's Chief Technology Officer Dennis Steiger, homes connected to the NBN network consume around 35 per cent more data than the average Australian household with 112GB per month for NBN connected homes compared with 83GB per month for standard internet consumers. 

    The soaring popularity of streaming services such as Netflix and Stan are leading this content consumption boom.

    "The significant increase in usage over the NBN network tells us the more bandwidth Australians have, the more content we want to consume," Mr Steiger said.

    "With forecasts showing the amount of connected devices is predicted to grow from nine to 29 by 2020, access to fast broadband will be critical in allowing us to continue to enjoy uninterrupted viewing on multiple devices at the same time."