Coonan defends Australia's broadband services

Communications Minister Helen Coonan has defended the state of broadband Internet services in Australia in the wake of claims they lag well behind other countries including Canada and Korea.

Only last week Telstra's new boss Sol Trujillo said Australia had fallen into the last quartile among developed countries for telecommunications services.

However, Senator Coonan said Australia ranked 10th of developed countries by the OECD in terms of broadband takeup.

She said there are about two million broadband subscribers in Australia.

Earlier today Labor senator Anne McEwen asked Coonan to explain why Australian consumers paid up to three times as much for broadband as Koreans, adding that: "In light of these facts does the minister now understand why Telstra CEO Mr Trujillo told his board that Australia is in the bottom quartile of developed countries in terms of its telecommunications services?"

Senator Coonan also said the government had spent $1 billion improving services, while Telstra had set aside money in its capital expenditure budget to upgrade its exchanges.

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