Federal Government pushes broadband

Even though the "dogs are baying" that Australia is behind in the broadband race, the Federal Government believes the nation's position in the "single lap" race is irrelevant.

Speaking at the 19th annual Atug (Australian Telecommunications User Group) Conference 2002 in Sydney, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology & the Arts, Senator Richard Alston said while South Korea may be striding ahead with its broadband deployment, only three or four other countries around the world were not in "single figures".

He said the fact that Australia's penetration is in the mid-teens, is not relevant in a "single-lap race".

Referring to the Government's recently announced Broadband Advisory Group initiative, that he will chair, the senator said the impetus for the study was because many OECD countries had broadband at the forefront of their policies.

"Broadband is the only game in town."

Alston also said while DSL was currently the most popular vehicle for broadband, it can ride on various electronic platforms, such as wireless LANs, cable and satellite.

While it is widely recognised the 802.11 wireless standard has coverage and security challenges, Alston said his department was currently preparing a report into the potential of this technology, especially as a 'last mile' solution (Computerworld, March 4 2002, p6).

"The spectrum is unique in how it operates and has the potential for mainstream [applicability].

"[The technology] deserves to be taken seriously."

Alston also reiterated in his keynote that the concerns of the few vendors about broadband market opportunities would not be enough to warrant Government intervention to speed deployment.

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