ATUG: Conroy must have alternative for OPEL

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ATUG: Conroy must have alternative for OPEL

The Australian Telecommunication Users Group (ATUG) has put in its two cents' worth on Senator Conroy’s decision to disband OPEL. According to a recent statement, ATUG viewed the OPEL initiative as an important part of the solution to the lack of communication services available to regional Australia.

ATUG is disappointed with the recent announcement by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, that the OPEL Networks broadband network will not proceed due to the OPEL Networks' Implementation Plan failing to meet the terms of a contract made with the previous Government.

According to the independent body, its concerns with this decision includes: the withdrawal of ISDN that is likely to leave end users to choose between dial-up and NextG; complaints of end users surrounding functionality limitations and high on-going costs to do with the Australian Broadband Guarantee (ABG) satellite service; and the limited wireless options available to regional end users because of backhaul prices and changes to the ABG.

While ATUG supports the development of a National Broadband Network, ATUG does not believe it will reach 98 percent of Australian end users for a considerable amount of time.

Conroy's announcement flagged a small opportunity to recast the ABG directed at two percent of the population. According to ATUG, this needs to be broadened in scope, beyond satellite and the proposed scale of two percent.
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