Communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy has rejected suggestions that Cyclone Yasi will have a major impact on the NBN testbed project in Townsville, saying that the nature of the project meant it would not suffer major delays.
Townsville is one of five mainland centres which is serving as an early testbed site for the National Broadband Network.
Speaking at the launch of HP's Eastern Creek data centre today, Conroy said that assessment of the build would begin once it was safe for inspectors to venture into the streets of Townsville, which was among the major centres impacted when Yasi made landfall last night.
"The project in Townsville is largely completed," Conroysaid. "[Once] we finalise the deal with Telstra, the build is substantially underground at that point."
But Conroy did acknowledge the impact that rebuilding requirements in Queensland might have on the NBN trial and expansion.
"The floods will certainly put pressure on every construction project and every development project there," he said. "But all other essential services battle with these one-in-thirty-year events. "
The shift to fibre would also be beneficial in dealing with future disaster scenarios, he suggested. "Fibre is a more robust technology when it comes to dealing with floods."
Conroy praised the HP data centre project, saying that it would tie in with the ALP's NBN vision.
"Increased data capacity combined with the rollout of high speed broadband via the NBN will ensure that Australia will become one of the world's leading digital economies," he said.
While HP officials welcomed the NBN as a modernisation initiative, they also said the data centre would be built regardless of the network rollout.