New details of Australian Broadband Guarantee

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New details of Australian Broadband Guarantee

Further details of the $162.5 million Australian Broadband Guarantee.

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, has come out with further details of the $162.5 million Australian Broadband Guarantee.

The Australian Broadband Guarantee builds on the achievements of the highly successful HiBIS and Broadband Connect subsidy programs that have already provided broadband access to over 1 million Australian premises.

The Guarantee will particularly target difficult blackspot areas to ensure that all Australians can access affordable broadband regardless of where they live.

It will also complement the $600 million Broadband Connect infrastructure program which will rollout sustainable, high speed, open access broadband networks in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia.

Current eligible Broadband Connect and/or Metropolitan Broadband Connect registered providers, who are able to rapidly connect customers to new broadband infrastructure, will be offered fast-track interim registration under the new program.

“Registered broadband providers in regional areas who have recently installed new infrastructure as part of the Broadband Connect subsidy program, and who may not have had a reasonable opportunity to recoup a portion of the costs, will be entitled to claim subsidies for connecting new customers under the Australian Broadband Guarantee,” Senator Coonan said.

The transitional arrangements will also allow existing Metropolitan Broadband Connect providers to roll-over their existing service areas into the Australian Broadband Guarantee and for registered providers to expand into new metropolitan and outer metropolitan service areas from 2 April. These arrangements will enable the rapid roll-out of Australian Broadband Guarantee services in these areas.

From 1 July, further expansion of service delivery areas will occur on a rolling basis to ensure continued focus on areas of unmet need.

“This selection process will provide an orderly process for selecting high quality broadband services to be eligible to receive a subsidy under the Australian Broadband Guarantee. It will also avoid unnecessary duplication between terrestrial broadband providers and remove overlap with the forthcoming Broadband Connect Infrastructure program,” Senator Coonan said.

From 1 July 2008, funds from earnings of the Government’s $2 billion Communications Fund will be available to continue the Australian Broadband Guarantee if required to ensure all Australians have access to broadband regardless of where they live.

Further details of the arrangements are included in the attached industry fact sheet, with full details to be made available in the Australian Broadband Guarantee –Guidelines which will be released for comment on the DCITA Web site on 23 March.
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