ADSL broadband will be switched on in 211 regional exchanges under a fund allocation from the government's $163 million Australian Broadband Guarantee.
In exchange for $98 million from the government's $162.5 million Australian Broadband Guarantee, Telstra will activate 62 DSLAMs in Victoria, 58 in Queensland, 32 in South Australia, 21 in New South Wales, 19 in Tasmania, 13 in Western Australia and three in the Northern Territory.
Regional Australia is now set be covered by the $1 billion OPEL WiMAX network, covering some 9.5 million households, and 426 new ADSL2+ exchanges, enabled by Optus and funded through the Australia Connected Initiative.
According to National ICT Minister Helen Coonan, the OPEL joint venture will initially offer broadband speeds of up to 6 Mbps, increasing to 12Mbps by June 30 next year, and will install some 15,000 kilometres of fibre optic backhaul to link rural and city networks and broaden links across the Bass Strait.
Fourteen ISPs, including Telstra, Optus and Cirrus Communications, have been approved from a growing list of ISPs eager to receive incentive payments from the ABG for supplying higher bandwidth services to regional and remote Australia at prices comparable to metropolitan areas.
National ICT minister Helen Coonan said she welcomes Telstra's move to open the exchanges ahead of the elections.
"I welcome Telstra's participation in the ABG, along with the other 13 applicants that have been approved to supply broadband under the program," Coonan said.
The ABG will fill holes in the OPEL project by providing satellite broadband to regions excluded from coverage areas.