Coonan guarantees broadband

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Coonan guarantees broadband

The Federal governement has released its guidelines for the new Australian Broadband Guarantee program, as part of its Broadband Connect package.

The Australian Broadband Guarantee provides assurance to those living in the remotest parts of Australia that they will have access to metro-comparable broadband services, said the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan has launched.

“The Guarantee provides a safety net that ensures Australians living in the most remote or difficult to reach areas are entitled to a broadband subsidy up to $2750 per household. That is the guarantee to all Australians,” she said.

Senator Coonan said that unlike the Labor Party, the Government has a complete and detailed plan to rollout affordable broadband to all Australians, regardless of where they live and the costs to consumers.

“The challenge to the Labor Party is to provide the costing, coverage maps and technical information about their broadband announcement for the full scrutiny of the Australian public,” she said.

Senator Coonan said that as the OPEL network rolls out over the next two years, the Australian Government will review the threshold service offered under the Australian Broadband Guarantee to ensure that it maintains parity with speeds and costs available in metropolitan areas.

In addition, interest earned from the $2 billion Communications Fund will be available to continue the Australian Broadband Guarantee beyond 2008 to ensure all Australians have access to high-speed broadband.

Senator Coonan also announced the extension of the current Australian Broadband Guarantee (transitional period) program.

“The transitional period program was put in place in April 2007 to provide former Broadband Connect providers with a transition period to the new program. The Australian Broadband Guarantee (transitional period) will now be extended to 13 August 2007,” she said.

The extension will also ensure that Australian consumers have uninterrupted access to subsidised broadband services during the change-over to the new program and in the lead up to retail services being offered under the OPEL network said Coonan.

Consumers can find out if they are eligible to receive the ABG subsidy and how to access it by call the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts on 1800 883 488 or by visiting www.dcita.gov.au/broadband and clicking on the Online Service Locator.
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