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Broadband breakthrough: 3 million connections.

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Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate

Media Release

Media Contact: Jane McMillan 0438 690 305

061/06 23 June 2006

Broadband Breakthrough - 3 Million connections

More Australians than ever before are now taking advantage of broadband Internet access, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Senator Helen Coonan said today.

Figures released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission show that as of March 2006 there are an estimated 3,161,600 broadband services in Australia.

“The March 2006 snapshot of broadband deployment shows that Australia’s rapid take-up of high-speed Internet technology is continuing, with the growth of broadband services connected increasing to 13.5% for the March quarter,” Senator Coonan said.

“Australia was already in the OECD top five for growth in broadband take-up, and the latest figures show that this actually accelerated in the last quarter.

“Broadband take-up increased by a massive 1,384,800 or 78% over the year from March 2005 when there were just 1,776,800 services connected.

“These figures clearly demonstrate that the Coalition Government’s major investment in broadband infrastructure is paying off.

“And with a further $3.1 billion already committed to improving communications services across Australia, we can expect even greater take-up in the future.

“The growth in Australian broadband use has been phenomenal. Just four years ago there were less than 200,000 broadband services in Australia. We now have more than three million.

“To support the further expansion of high-speed Internet in Australia I have under development a Broadband Blueprint. This will provide a national framework to ensure the rollout of broadband supports Australia to become a world leader in the development, rollout and use of next generation broadband.

“I am also currently seeking Expressions of Interest from industry to test the feasibility of funding larger scale infrastructure projects under the Australian Government's $878 million Broadband Connect program.

“I am encouraging interested parties to put forward ideas, plans and possible project proposals to help inform the final design of the Connect Australia program.”