Conroy doubles bush broadband subsidy

Government calls for industry feedback.

Internet Service Providers will have an extra $3000 to spend after the government almost doubled subsidies available to regional broadband suppliers.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy announced subsidies available to telcos under the Australian Broadband Guarantee will increase from $3300 to $6000.

The government announced last week that it will pour $270.7 million into the fund, two weeks after it attempted to use the funds for its National Broadband Network (NBN).

ISPs can claim up to $6000 per customer to offset the cost of providing Internet access to remote areas.

Conroy said telcos can register with the fund for two years and can gain exclusivity in nominated areas.

"These new draft guidelines will enhance the program to ensure it delivers a higher level of broadband service and provides better protection for consumers," Conroy said.

"It is important that all Australians have equitable access to broadband, both while the network is being rolled out, and in those most remote areas that the new network may not cover."

The government will publish 'heat maps' of under-served areas eligible for the subsidy on the Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy Web site.

Industry have until May 28 to provide feedback on the draft plans.

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Darren Pauli

Computerworld
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