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Telstra turned on the upgrade of its Next G network to 42Mbps (theoretical maxium downstream bandwidth) earlier this year and has now revealed that it will be operational in 100 regional centres as well as capital cities as soon as customer devices are available, later this year.

Telstra made the announcement on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the formation of Telstra Country Wide, but named only a handful of the towns to be covered.

CEO David Thodey, said the list would include Albury, Alice Springs, Orange, Broome, Ballarat, Roxby Downs, Port Lincoln and Newcastle. He said that Telstra had recently installed is 7000th Next G base station.

Telstra has still not given a release date for the first device capable of exploiting the full potential of the upgrade, but says it will be a USB dongle dubbed the 'Telstra Ultimate USB' and will be available "later this year."

In December 2009 Telstra claimed it was the first telco in the world to test 42Mbps HSPA+ outside a laboratory. Telstra announced in February that it had completed its 42Mbps upgrade in the initial coverage areas and was testing a USB dongle from Sierra Wireless.

It announced in May the first tests of this device in the live commercial 42Mbps network and COO Michael Rocca said Telstra had obtained average download speeds of about 22Mbps "in a good signal environment under controlled conditions, approximately double those experienced under the same conditions at the same location with a standard BigPond Elite HSPA+ rated device."

However, in real world conditions Telstra quotes typical download speeds of 550kbps - 8.0Mbps for BigPond Elite devices in 21MHz coverage areas.

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