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Another step - slowly - towards better telecommunications.

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NR 53/2000 12 April 2000

ANOTHER STEP - SLOWLY - TOWARDS BETTER TELECOMMUNICATIONS The National Farmers' Federation has today welcomed the announcement by Telstra of additional funding of $350 million to upgrade the rural and regional telecommunication networks over the next three years.

NFF President, Ian Donges, said: "Quality of service, price and the level of telecommunication competition is of great concern to the country and part of this means getting upgrades completed without unnecessary delays.

"Telstra's performance for fault clearance in rural and remote areas is still at the 86 per cent and 74 per cent levels respectively, even with a general upward trend in overall performance on national basis.

"Quality and service level standards should be the same for all Australians irrespective of the size of the community they live in, or the outdated telecommunications local call zone they live in.

"While the announcements of the past few weeks have been encouraging, NFF is disappointed that progress has been frustratingly slow in delivering on achieving a positive change for rural and regional Australia through telecommunications competition and a more robust Universal Service Obligation (USO)," Mr Donges said.

"NFF believes that an open competitive telecommunications market place will deliver the best long-term results for the country, and that legislative and relevant administrative requirements must be implemented on a timely basis so the benefits of competition can be maximised," he said.

"Expediting progress on all Government T2 Bonus Initiatives will greatly assist in the uptake of online services in the country, which in turn will partially offset some shortfalls of basic day-to-day services.

"NFF looks forward to further announcements that will identify specific expenditure locations to further enhance the delivery of affordable quality telecommunications services to rural and regional Australia in the near future," Mr Donges said.

For further information

Ian Donges President, NFF 02 6273-3855 0419 613 349

Dr Wendy Craik Executive Director, NFF 0419 257 469 0414 201 315

Mark Needham Telecommunications Policy 0418 653 877

Copyright ©1999 National Farmers’ Federation. All Rights Reserved.