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Monday, 27 February 2006 20:05

Vic Gov't slams feds over broadband

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A report, commissioned by the Victorian Government has revealed that despite the increased availability of broadband services almost 44,000 regional Victorian home and businesses who want broadband cannot access it, 24,000 more than in 2003.

Minister for information and communication technology, Marsha Thomson, accused the Federal Government of "sitting on [its] hands while country Victoria suffered," saying: "This new research shows [that] while the Howard Government is focused on the sale of Telstra, the situation is getting worse when it comes to the broadband needs of regional Victorians...This is a timely reminder to the Howard Government that it cannot waste the $1.1 billion set out for its Connect Australia program as part of the Telstra sale legislation last year.

"The Bracks Government has highlighted in its Connect Australia submission that the current HiBIS program is not working and that it is imperative that a new more flexible model is adopted.

"The Bracks Government's strategy to make sure the State Government can access affordable broadband services has led to almost $200 million of telecommunication infrastructure being invested in the state. Not only does this allow us to make sure that every school, hospital and police station across Victoria is connected to broadband services, but this infrastructure investment benefits the broader community."

The full report Spend/Demand Telecommunications in Regional and Rural Victoria can be found online at the Government's Broadband Access Office - www.mmv.vic.gov.au/broadband


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