Coonan announces $1.9 billion network

Rural areas fed FttN leftovers

National ICT minister Helen Coonan today launched the $1.9 billion Australia Connected infrastructure initiative to roll-out ADSL 2+ and WiMAX to 99 percent of Australia by 2009.

The initiative will receive $958 million from the $1.85 billion Broadband Connect program and more than $900 million from OPEL, a joint venture between Optus and rural service provider Elders, and promises speeds of 12 Mbps for most rural areas by expanding WiMax infrastructure.

Senator Coonan said OPEL joint venture will install ADSL2+ capabilities in 426 WiMax exchanges in regional and outer-metropolitan areas, and 15,000 kilometres of fibre optic backhaul to link rural and city networks and broaden links across the Bass Strait.

"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 network services to be switched on immediately," Coonan said, adding the plan will reduce regional backhaul costs by 30 percent.

"Retail prices for the new WiMax and ADSL2+ services will range from $35 to $60 per month, depending on the speed selected by the consumer.

"Beyond 2009, this new network will have the capacity to provide increased speeds, with funding assured from the $2 billion Communications Fund.

This new high speed wholesale broadband network is fully costed and will be built immediately."

The scheme will increase the availability of current ADSL2+ and WiMax services in rural and outer metro areas through a $600 million competitive grant and an additional $358 million in funding.

Meanwhile, Telstra, the Optus-lead G9 consortium and the ACCC continue to squabble over plans for a national Fibre-to-the-Node (FttN) network.

Coonan also announced the immediate creation of an FttN watchdog taskforce, chaired by the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) secretary Patricia Scott, to attempt to pry-open debates and set a deadline for competitive FttN submissions.

"The guidelines for the [FttN] competitive bids process will be developed by the Expert Taskforce in consultation with industry, and the Taskforce will settle a realistic timetable for the bids to be submitted and assessed," Coonan said.

Telecommunications analyst, Paul Budde, said the scheme is realistic in light of stagnated FttN debates, although ADSL2+ and WiMAX are not cutting-edge technologies.

"It is a realistic project which uses the common idea of a shared network with bits of WiMax, Broadband over Powerline (BPL) and some ADSL2+, however its not the best," Budde said.

"It's designed around results because consumers don't give a damn about the technology, they just want good, reliable speeds.

"Telstra will react with lower prices for the regional areas and we will have a better rural service."

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Darren Pauli

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?