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Telstra's high speed wireless data service for rural Australians welcomed.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon John Anderson MP Deputy Prime Minister Minister for Transport and Regional Services Leader of The Nationals

27 January 2004 A12/2004


Telstra's decision to roll out high speed data services through its CDMA mobile phone network could be a real boon for many people in regional Australia, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, said today.

Mr Anderson was commenting on a Telstra announcement that by the end of the year it would offer a 144kbps 1xRTT data service throughout its whole CDMA mobile phone network.

"This is a most welcome development that demonstrates the benefits of having strong competition in the mobile phone sector," Mr Anderson said.

"It is also worth noting that this is a fully commercial development. While the Australian Government has encouraged phone carriers to improve Internet services in regional Australia, the Government did not instruct or direct Telstra to introduce this service, and nor is it supported by any form of Government subsidy.

"Telstra has made a business decision to introduce this service, because it believes the demand from regional Australia will make it profitable."

He said that while the take-up of the service would depend on Telstra's pricing regime, he believed the data speed available (up to 144kbps) could be very attractive to a lot of people doing business in regional areas, and to many home users.

"The data speed Telstra is quoting is between three and five times faster than city people average over a normal dial-up connection, significantly faster than an ISDN connection - and could easily be 10 times faster than country people can achieve at the end of their long copper wire connections.

"This speed of service could really help business people who travel regional Australia with their laptop computers - people like stock and station agents, veterinarians, surveyors, sales reps, accountants, farm consultants and farmers. It could also provide a solution for remote homes where the only way to obtain reasonable data speeds has been to install a satellite service."

The new service was a welcome step forward in reducing the digital divide between city and country, Mr Anderson said.

Media Contacts

Paul Chamberlin ( Minister Anderson's Office ) 02 6277 7680