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Wednesday, 30 November 1983
Page: 3121

Question No. 606

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Communications, upon notice, on 11 October 1983 :

(1) How many RX or step exchange rural automatic exchanges are in operation in each State.

(2) What is the timetable and the estimated cost for the replacement of these exchanges.

(3) What type of exchange will the replacement be, and will it be analogue or digital.

(4) If analogue, when will Telecom Australia begin installing digital exchanges and when will the program be completed.

(5) When will (a) metropolitan, (b) city and (c) town exchanges be fully digital.

Mr Duffy —The answer to the honourable member's question, based on advice from the Australian Telecommunications Commission, is as follows:

(1) The number of Step-By-Step Rural Automatic Exchanges (RAXs) existing is each state and nationally, at June 1983, is as follows:

NSW 318

VIC 248

QLD 45

SA 128

WA 70

TAS 32

NAT 841

(2) Some replacement of Step-By-Step Rural Automatic Exchanges is already occurring using crossbar (analogue) equipment. A replacement programme using digital equipment is being studied.

The present objective is to commence the replacement of the exchanges in 1986- 87, at an estimated cost of $51.5m.

(3) The equipment which will be used to replace Step-By-Step Rural Automatic Exchanges will employ digital switching.

The particular type of equipment to be employed, which will best meet the needs of the Australian rural environment, is the subject of current studies in Telecom.

(4) Analogue (crossbar) equipment will only be used for essential replacements pending the availability of digital rural switching equipment.

(5) At present there is no specific timetable for Telecom exchanges becoming fully digital. However the present strategy for digital network development is to provide digital exchange equipment for growth and for the progressive replacement of step-by-step equipment to the year 2000.