Broadband neglect identified in Vic report

Victorian Information and Communications Technology Minister Marsha Thomson has accused the Howard government of neglecting the broadband needs of regional Victoria.

Thomson said the Bracks government was trying to do all it can to introduce broadband even though it is ultimately a federal government responsibility.

Claiming the federal government is "sitting on its hands", Thomson said supply is not keeping pace with demand.

A report commissioned by the Bracks government, Spend/Demand Telecommunications in Regional and Rural Victoria, found almost 44,000 regional

Victorian homes and business want broadband but cannot get access, up 24,000 from 2003.

Thomson said the state government has invested $200 million in telecommunications infrastructure in a bid to address the problem.

She said the lack of connectivity is a timely reminder to Prime Minister John Howard that the federal government cannot waste the $1.1 billion for the

Connect Australia program, part of the Telstra sale legislation introduced last year.

Australia's telecommunications service was on the agenda yesterday in Canberra as Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo met with government MPs to discuss the telco's future network plans.

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