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One-stop consumer help centre for broadband

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“BroadbandNow – a one-stop consumer help centre offering a unique broadband information service to all Australians was launched today,” the Federal Member for Indi, Sophie Mirabella, said today.

“BroadbandNow is especially relevant for people living and working in regional and remote Australia who do not have ready access to information concerning access to broadband,” Mrs Mirabella said.

“It is critical for consumers to have access to the most up-to-date broadband information in a centralised location.

“BroadbandNow will provide telephone and web information to assist consumers understand the technology options available to them and provide information about how to get connected,” Mrs Mirabella said.

BroadbandNow has a dedicated website (www.broadbandnow.gov.au) which will include a broadband service locator for consumers to identify the various broadband services available to them at their premises.

BroadbandNow also includes a call centre to respond to consumer enquiries, particularly for those without an existing Internet service. The BroadbandNow hotline can be accessed on 1800 883 488, Monday to Friday 8am-9pm EST.

BroadbandNow will provide information for consumers on all sorts of broadband topics including: how to obtain access to broadband; what each of the various broadband technologies means for consumers; and whether individual consumers are eligible for government assistance programs such as the Australian Broadband Guarantee.

BroadbandNow is part of the Australian Government’s Australia Connected initiative announced recently which commits to providing fast affordable broadband access to all Australians, no matter where they live.

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

  • A new national high speed wholesale network: OPEL, a joint venture between Optus and rural group Elders will extend high speed broadband to 99 per cent of households and business by June 2009 using a mix of fibre optic, ADSL2+ and state-of–the-art wireless broadband;
  • A new commercial fibre optic network: Facilitating a fibre build in cities and larger regional centres via a competitive bids process and subsequent legislation;
  • 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; and
  • Preservation of the $2 billion Communications Fund: To ensure the funds are protected in perpetuity by legislation for the benefit of regional and rural Australians and to provide for an income stream for future service upgrades.

“This new super fast network is fully costed, Australia wide and will reach many Australian homes and small businesses within a matter of months,” Mrs Mirabella said.

“It’s now been over 100 days since the Labor Party released their broadband plan with nothing more than a flimsy press release.”

Mrs Mirabella said the Coalition Government has challenged the Labor Party to provide the costings, coverage maps and technical information about their broadband proposal for the full scrutiny of the Australian public.

“It’s clear Labor don’t have a genuine broadband strategy for Australians beyond our major capital cities. Their plan continues to be light on detail with no technical backing and yet another example of their inability to be economically responsible.

“If Labor thinks they can spend almost $5 billion of taxpayers’ money with no more detail or accountability than a mere press release, then this is just another example why they don’t have the experience to be trusted with Australia’s trillion dollar economy.”

“While Australia waits for Labor’s costings, the Coalition Government will get on with the job of supplying the best possible broadband services to the people of Australia,” Mrs Mirabella said.

BroadbandNow website: http://www.broadbandnow.gov.au
BroadbandNow Hotline: 1800 883 488

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Written by Greg Naylor

3 July 2007 at 5:05 pm

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