6 October 2006
Minister welcomes Telstra ‘Next G’ launch
The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, today welcomed the early launch of Telstra’s national $1 billion ‘Next G’ network which will provide improved voice and broadband services to around 98 per cent of the population.
“This is great news for business and residential consumers, particularly those living and working in rural and regional Australia,” Senator Coonan said.
“Any investment that can increase both the speed and availability of broadband in Australia is good news. The productivity benefits for business and the improved ability for consumers to access entertainment and communications services that will flow from this investment are very welcome.”
According to Telstra the network will allow consumers across Australia to access wireless broadband with speeds averaging 550Kbps to 1.5 Mbps now with peak network speeds of up to 3.6Mbps, increasing up to 14.4Mbps early next year. Telstra predicts the network could deliver up to 40Mbps by 2009.
“The Government welcomes this addition to the competitive telecommunications landscape in Australia,” Senator Coonan said.
“It is an exciting time for the industry and it will only get better when the Government allocates up to $600 million towards large scale infrastructure projects to further increase the spread of high speed broadband to more areas across rural, regional and remote Australia.
“Part of the $878 million Broadband Connect program and a key element of the $1.1 billion Connect Australia package, this investment will encourage telecommunications players and other interested parties to formulate plans to connect every inch of Australia to faster, scalable broadband infrastructure.”
The Government will continue to work with Telstra through a dedicated working group formed to monitor the transition from the current CDMA network to the new 3G network.
Telstra has committed to not switching off the CDMA network until coverage is as good, if not better, than the current network.
The working group is comprised of representatives from Telstra, the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and the regulator – the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
ACMA is currently conducting a coverage audit of the CDMA network and will audit the coverage offered by the new Next G network next year.