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Fast affordable broadband for western Victoria: 45 local centres to benefit!

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Federal Member for Wannon

Hamilton Office 190 Gray St, HAMILTON VIC 3300 Warrnambool Office 73 Kepler St WARRNAMBOOL VIC 3280 Freecall 1300 131 692 E W

18 June 2007


Federal Member for Wannon, David Hawker, says the residents of Western Victoria will be big winners following the Australian Government’s launch today of Australia Connected.

“The centrepiece of Australia Connected is the immediate rollout of a new competitive state of the art broadband network that will future proof the electorate by extending high speed services throughout Western Victoria with speeds of 12 megabits per second by 2009,” Mr Hawker said.

“This landmark funding initiative will enable high speed broadband coverage across the whole of our region so that everyone living and working in the electorate will, over the next two years, have access to affordable broadband up to twenty times faster than current services.”

Locally, 45 centres have been listed for the new service or upgrade of existing services within Wannon.

Mr Hawker said the Australian Government will spend $958 million on this new network and this funding will be complemented by $917 million from the network builder OPEL—a joint venture between Optus and Elders.

“Everyone in Western Victoria can benefit from the Australia Connected initiative including those working in our hospitals and schools, families who use the Internet to keep in touch with loved ones, and our business people who use it to contact their customers and suppliers and to find new markets for their product,” he said.

“Not only those in bigger centres but also rural people will be winners.”

Under Australia Connected, the Port Fairy exchange will be upgraded to very fast ADSL2+ broadband (up to 20Mbps) and 50 new wireless broadband sites (WiMAX) will be built across the region*.

“Today’s announcement is further demonstration of the Australian Government’s commitment to ensuring fast affordable broadband services for all Australians—regardless of where they live,” Mr Hawker said.

“Furthermore, the Australian Broadband Guarantee will ensure the remaining one per cent of Australians are not left behind with a per customer subsidy of up to $2750 to ensure remote broadband access.

“The Australian Government has also launched BroadbandNow—a one stop consumer help centre with telephone and web information. The service will help consumers understand the options available to them and provide information about how to get connected.”

BroadbandNow will begin from 1 July and the first Australia Connected OPEL broadband network services will be switched on from September 2007.

“I am confident that this new network will deliver an enormous productivity boost to Western Victoria,” Mr Hawker said.

*Wireless broadband sites (12Mbps)—WiMAX

• Ararat

• Avoca

• Branxholme

• Broadwater

• Burrumbeet

• Cape Bridgewater

• Caramut

• Casterton (2)

• Cobden

• Coleraine

• Darlington

• Dartmoor

• Digby

• Dunrobin

• Ecklin

• Glenthompson

• Gorae West

• Great Western

• Greenwald

• Hamilton (2)

• Hawkesdale

• Heywood

• Koroit

• Lake Bolac

• Lismore

• Macarthur

• Melville Forest

• Mumbannar

• Muntham

• Nelson

• Nirranda

• Orford

• Panmure

• Pomonal

• Portland

• Stawell (2)

• Streatham

• Timboon

• Tyrendarra

• Vite Vite North

• Wannon

• Warrnambool (3)

• Willaura North

• Woodhouse

• Woolsthorpe

- ENDS -

Media contact: Jane Templeton (02) 6277 4006