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Competition driving broadband take-up in Australia.

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109/05 22 September 2005

Competition driving broadband take-up in Australia

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, today welcomed an announcement from Optus that it will roll-out new DSL services to increase competition and choice in the Australian broadband market.

Optus will increase its broadband footprint to reach an additional 2.9 million households and businesses in Australia. Optus predicts that the full roll-out will extend to around 340 exchanges across Australia.

Roll-outs of this kind will only increase as the Government rolls out targeted, new investment to ensure all Australians, regardless of where they live, have access to affordable telecommunications services.

Optus and the other more than 100 telecommunications providers across Australia stand to substantially benefit from the Government’s $1.1 billion Connect Australia to roll-out more available and affordable broadband and improved mobile phone coverage to all Australians.

“Optus’ announcement will lessen the company’s dependence on Telstra’s ADSL network and roll-out new infrastructure to give more Australians innovative new services and greater choice of broadband provider,” Senator Coonan said.

“This is competition at work and reinforces the Government’s approach of making targeted investment across Australia that is competitively and technologically neutral. I welcome Optus’ announcement and look forward to witnessing the company’s significant $150 million investment at work early next year.

“While the investment will initially target metropolitan areas there is genuine scope for Optus and other providers to target regional centres and scattered populations across Australia in the near future. This will be the real test of competition - when rural and regional Australia has genuine choice of services from Telstra’s competitors.”

Optus’ announcement comes on the back of new broadband market figures released by consultancy Point Topic that shows Australia is now ninth among developed countries for broadband growth with 37 per cent growth to March 2005.

And this week the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released new figures showing the phenomenal rate of broadband take-up in Australia. According to the ACCC, in the last 12 months alone more than 1.1 million subscribers have signed up to broadband in Australia, an increase of 108.3 per cent.

The take-up of ADSL services is now at 1,579,500 and there are 2,183,300 broadband subscribers in Australia in total.