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Broadband growth 'always on' at high speed.



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Broadband growth 'always on' at high speed

Broadband subscribers more than doubled in the 12 months to 31 March, according to figures released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) today.

The ACCC report found that at the end of March 2003, there were 423 600 broadband services connected across Australia-up 112 per cent from March 2002. Connections almost quadrupled since the ACCC started measuring uptake in 31 July 2001.

A further 60 100 Australians signed up for the benefits of broadband in the three months to

31 March this year. The most significant growth can be seen in the take up of DSL technologies which have grown more than 200 per cent from 68 100 to 218 800 in the last 12 months.

The Commonwealth Government recognises that broadband services have the potential to drive productivity improvements across the economy, and enhance the delivery of government services to all Australians-particularly health and education services.

The Broadband Advisory Group (BAG) Australia's Broadband Connectivity report recommended that the Government adopt a National Broadband Strategy in cooperation with all levels of government and industry to make Australia a world leader in the availability and effective use of broadband.

In response to a recommendation in the BAG report, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Alston issued a determination under Division 12A of Part XIB of the Trade Practices Act 1974 that will focus the ACCC's broadband measurement towards detailing uptake in key sectors and in small, medium and large Australian businesses. All future reports from the ACCC should comply with this determination and will provide better information on the effective use of broadband services.

The strong growth noted by the ACCC in the broadband market is reinforced by figures released by Telstra two weeks ago. Telstra now has more than 340 000 Broadband subscribers on its cable, satellite and ADSL networks.

More importantly, competition at the retail level has driven Telstra Wholesale DSL connections up by more than 400 per cent in less than a year, growing from almost

25 000 at the end of July 2002 to 108 000 in June 2003.

Optus has also noted strong growth on its cable Broadband network, growing at 67 per cent over the last year and passing 100 000 subscribers in May 2003.

Media contact: Simon Troeth (02) 6277 7480 or (0439) 425 373 Website: www.richardalston.dcita.gov.au

96/03 19 June 2003