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Coalition Government will pay for Telstra's poor Internet speeds.



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Senator Kate Lundy Senator for the Australian Capital Territory Shadow Minister for Information Technology and Sport

Coalition Government will pay for Telstra’s poor internet speeds

The Coalition is flagging the possibility of forking out taxpayers’ money to pay for the improvements to Telstra’s network that will be required to bring dial-up internet speeds up to a half-decent standard.

According to Minister Alston, the Government’s inquiry into Telstra’s services will advise on:

“additional Government action that may be taken to remove any impediments to the delivery of Internet services at 64kbps or better, and wireless-based technologies in regional, rural and remote Australia”

The Shadow Minister for Information Technology, Senator Kate Lundy criticised the suggestion as another Telstra bail out.

“Clearly the Government is looking for ways that it can use tax-payers’ money to subsidise the telco in order to make it more attractive to sell,” Senator Lundy said.

“Telstra executives must be rubbing their hands with glee at this suggestion. The reason Telstra hasn’t tried to upgrade its network to improve dial-up internet speeds is because it would require some kind of forward-thinking investment plan. And why would Telstra bother to spend its own money to improve its network when it is virtually a monopoly?

“We already know that over one million Australians in regional and outer-metropolitan areas have slow internet speeds and no access to ADSL broadband because Telstra has taken the cheap option and given them a pair gain connection.

“Telstra would rather cream profits off an ageing network, ignoring complaints about slow internet speeds, and charging customers every time their internet connection drops out and they have to dial up again.

“This is just another example of how the Coalition is happy to spend Australian taxes on fixing Telstra to make its ideological obsession with the full privatisation more palatable,” Senator Lundy concluded.

19 August 2002. Media contact: Simon Tatz on (02) 6277 3334 or the Electorate Office: 0418 488 295.