Bush finally backs CDMA closure

Not all gloom as shutdown looms

Regional Australians have finally backed the closure of Telstra's CDMA network, which will be terminated at midnight tonight.

NSW Farmer's Association president Jock Laurie said Telstra has done enough groundwork to facilitate the closure of CDMA.

"Next-G is getting better and better, but there will still be a few people who have problems with local coverage and a few other things," Laurie said.

"We are talking to Telstra to make sure they get through to anyone who has problems."

Laurie said remaining CDMA users should contact Telstra if they require assistance migrating to the new network.

Regional Australians have previously voiced concerns that the Next-G network is not up to scratch.

The closure will be Telstra's second attempt to deactivate the 10 year old CDMA network, after Communications Minister Stephen Conroy blocked the move in January this year.

Former communications minister Helen Coonan imposed a draft license condition last year, which prevented Telstra from closing the CDMA network if the Next-G network did not offer equivalent or improved performance.

Conroy gave Telstra the go-ahead to kill the network earlier this month.

"I am satisfied that Telstra has met the equivalence tests in its licence condition and has sufficiently rectified the problems I identified in January, including handheld handset coverage, customer information provision and the availability of equipment and services," Conroy said.

A January report issued by the Australian Communications and Media Alliance (ACMA) criticized the suitability of Next-G handsets, network coverage and customer service.

Some regional Australians could not connect to Next-G after they were sold low-capacity handsets instead of the more powerful Blue Tick phones by Telstra shops.

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