When it comes to node based deployment, the issues for regional and rural areas are cost based issues, centred mainly around trenching through a fibre cable to the node, and then cutting the customers over.
Of these however, the costly option is the fibre cutover, as they would need to dig their cable in, and use that for backhaul.
That is, unless they thought outside the square, and looked at a possible wireless backhaul solution.
Internode currently use Microwave links to provide services to entire regions across SA, such technology incorporated with a node deployment (so WiMAX), could possibly provide the speeds of 12Mbps or more that Conroy is demanding, and cut back on the cost of running the fibre cable to the node, possibly making his 98% delivery figure a close reality.
Though, it does seem a bit backward looking, as the WiMAX technology could itself be used to provide the service without the need for a node based cutover.
Maybe they will be ploughing through with fibre afterall.