The Federal Government announced this week a further seven broadband providers have been approved under the $163 million Australian Broadband Guarantee.
Launched in August as part of the government's $1.9 billion Australia Connected initiative, the plan offers incentive payments to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to supply higher bandwidth services in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia at prices comparable to those available in metropolitan areas.
The Australia Connected initiative will see ADSL2+ capabilities installed in 426 WiMax exchanges across regional and outer-metropolitan areas, and 15,000 kilometres of fibre optic backhaul rolled out to link rural and city networks and broaden links across the Bass Strait.
Currently registered ISPs for the Australian Broadband Guarantee include Australian Private Networks, Elders, HarbourIT, Internode, Westnet, Westvic Broadband and Wideband Networks.
The recently approved ISPs include Amcom, Broadband Wireless, McPherson Media, Ocean Broadband, Optus, Skymesh, and Telstra, although the providers are yet to finalise the contract before they can participate.
"In order to be registered and to be able to offer subsidised services, these applicants need to execute their funding deeds with the Government," National ICT Minister Helen Coonan said in a press statement. "Unless and until the funding deed has been duly executed by the provider, they will not be able to participate in the program."
The ISPs have until Wednesday, October 10 in which to respond.