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Fast affordable broadband for North East Victoria

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The Federal Member for Indi, Mrs Sophie Mirabella MP, said today the residents of Indi will be big winners following the Howard Government’s launch of Australia Connected. This new funding is in addition to the previous $500million provided for the existing Broadband Connect and other programs.

“The centrepiece of Australia Connected is the immediate rollout of a new competitive state of the art broadband network that will extend high speed services to 99 per cent of the population and provide speeds of 12 megabits per second by 2009.

“This landmark funding initiative will enable high speed broadband coverage across the entire electorate of Indi so that everyone living and working in the electorate will, over the next two years, have access to fast affordable broadband for the first time,” Mrs Mirabella said.

“The Howard Government will spend $958 million on this new network and this funding will be complemented by $917 million from the network builder OPEL—a joint venture between Optus and Elders.

“Everyone in Indi can benefit from the Australia Connected initiative including those working in our hospitals and schools, families who use the Internet to keep in touch with loved ones, and our business people who use it to contact their customers and suppliers and to find new markets for their product.

“In the electorate of Indi two exchanges will be upgraded to very fast ADSL2+ broadband and 26 new wireless broadband sites (WiMAX) will be built in the region,” Mrs Mirabella said.

ADSL2+ (up to 20Mbps)—Very fast broadband updated from basic ADSL

• Bright
• Wodonga

New wireless broadband sites (12Mbps)—WiMax

• Barnawartha (2)
• Beechworth
• Benalla
• Bethanga
• Bonnie Doon
• Bright
• Bundalong
• Cheshunt
• Creightons Creek
• Euroa (2)
• Glenrowan
• Mansfield (2)
• Milawa (2)
• Nagambie
• Porepunkah
• Ruffy
• Rutherglen
• Strathbogie
• Tungamah
• Wangaratta
• Warby
• Yackandandah

Australia Connected is a three part proposal and contains the following elements:

• A new national high speed wholesale network: the awarding of a $600 million competitive grant which will deliver a mix of fibre optic, ADSL2+ and wireless to rural and regional areas. This rollout has been boosted with an additional $358 million funding extension;

• A new commercial fibre optic network: facilitating a fibre build in cities and larger regional centres via a competitive bids process and subsequent legislation; and

• Australian Broadband Guarantee: a program providing subsidised broadband for very remote locations (the remaining one per cent of the population) that may not be covered by the new regional network.

“Today’s announcement is further demonstration of the Howard Government’s commitment to ensuring fast affordable broadband services for all Australians—regardless of where they live,” Mrs Mirabella said.

“Furthermore, the Australian Broadband Guarantee will ensure the remaining one per cent of Australians are not left behind with a per customer subsidy of up to $2750 to ensure remote broadband access.

“The Howard Government has also launched BroadbandNow—a one stop consumer help centre with telephone and web information. The service will help consumers understand the technology options available to them and provide ready information about how to get connected.”

BroadbandNow will begin from 1 July and the first Australia Connected OPEL broadband network services will be switched on from September 2007.

“Unlike Labor’s uncosted and poorly detailed proposal, this new super fast network is fully costed, affordable and will be rolled out immediately Australia wide.

“Labor’s plan would be rolled out over five years and Australians simply can’t afford to wait until 2013 for Labor’s broadband plan to be turned on.

“I am confident that the Howard Government has got the balance right and that this new network will deliver an enormous productivity boost to the electorate of Indi,” Mrs Mirabella said.

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Written by Greg Naylor

18 June 2007 at 5:49 pm

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