Hon Judi Moylan

FAST AFFORDABLE BROADBAND FOR PEARCE

Member for Pearce, Judi Moylan has welcomed the Australian Government’s landmark broadband initiative Australia Connected stating that it will be of immense benefit to people living within the Pearce electorate. Being able to have reliable high speed broadband connections is essential in today’s global trading environment and indeed for all those in regional and rural communities for whom ease of communication is a necessity. Minister for communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan today announced that Australia Connected would guarantee that 99 per cent of the population would have access to fast, affordable broadband by June 2009. “Australia has now entered into a whole new broadband era with speeds 20 to 40 times faster than those used by most consumers today, with the first Australia Connected broadband services to be switched on immediately,” Senator Coonan said. Judi Moylan said the new initiative would mean all people living in Pearce, whether in rural, regional or metropolitan areas, would have access to high speed, affordable Internet facilities. “This landmark funding initiative will enable blanket high speed broadband coverage across the entire electorate of Pearce 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,” Ms Moylan said. “This is particularly good news for farmers, who rely heavily on the Internet for the day to day running of their businesses.” Ms Moylan said the Australian Government will spend $958 million on the new network and that the funding will be complemented by $917 million from the network builder OPEL—a joint venture between Optus and Elders. “In addition to the new high speed wireless broadband network, Pearce households and small businesses will also enjoy the benefits of a world class optic fibre network,” Ms Moylan said. “At 20–50 megabits per second this new fibre network is dramatically faster than anything currently available and will be rolled out throughout Australia’s capital cities and major regional centres.” Ms Moylan said everyone in Pearce stood to 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. 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 Australian Government’s commitment to ensuring fast affordable broadband services for all Australians—regardless of where they live,” Ms Moylan 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 Australian 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.” Ms Moylan said that 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,” Ms Moylan said. “Labor’s plan is a five year rollout and Australians simply can’t afford to wait until 2013 for Labor’s broadband plan to be turned on. I am confident that the Australian Government has got the balance right and that this new network will deliver an enormous productivity boost to the electorate of Pearce.”

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