Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Australia - broadband

Telstra to switch on ADSL2+ at 900 telephone exchanges

TELSTRA will activate ADSL2+ broadband at more than 900 telephone exchanges, and hopes to serve 2.4 million consumers across every state and territory.
Telstra made the announcement today after the Federal Government declared it did not consider a compelling case had been made for regulating third-party access to the service - an assurance sought by Telstra for more than a year.

Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo said the Government's decision meant more than a million extra Australian families, businesses, non-profit organisations and Government agencies would be able to enjoy the benefits of high-speed broadband.

"This simple act of the new Government unlocks the potential of high-speed broadband for households and businesses around Australia, enabling more people to fully participate in remote education, send or receive X-rays and medical files, rapidly download videos or run their business without sacrificing time with their families,'' Mr Trujillo said.

High-speed ADSL2+ broadband can provide network speeds of up to 20 megabits per second, up to 350 times faster than a standard 56kbps dial-up connection, and up to 78 times faster than a standard 256kbps ADSL connection.

Telstra said 370 telephone exchanges serving nearly 1.8 million premises will be upgraded within seven working days in locations such as Alice Springs, Kalgoorlie and Karratha.

More than 130 telephone exchanges serving 230,000 premises will be upgraded within three weeks and an additional 405 exchanges serving more than 330,000 premises will be upgraded within 200 days.

In a letter to Telstra setting out the Government's decision, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said he would welcome a decision by Telstra to switch on ADSL2+ services in as many exchange areas as possible.

"Switching on these services would benefit the national interest, delivering significant economic and social benefits to Australian consumers who cannot currently access high speed broadband,'' Senator Conroy wrote.

Telstra says it remains committed to participating in the Government's tender process to build its promised $9 billion open-access fibre-to-the-node broadband service.

Senator Conroy said he was delighted he could provide Telstra with regulatory certainty.

"The rollout of ADSL2+ to Telstra exchanges is a major step forward in making high-speed broadband accessible to a significant part of the Australian population,'' he said today.

"However, technical issues, such as the distance people live from a telephone exchange will affect broadband connection speeds.

"That is why the Australian Government is committed to the National Broadband Network that will deliver fibre-to-the-node technology to 98 per cent of Australian homes and businesses.'

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