Monday, 18 June 2007
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for Macquarie. As it happens, I will be able to inform him in the course of this answer of some of the benefits that will accrue to his electorate from the announcement I made together with the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts in Goulburn earlier today. As a result of the government’s policies, in two years time 99 per cent of the Australian population will have access to very fast broadband, and we will not need to raid the future savings of Australian soldiers and police in order to achieve that outcome.
We are going to invest $958 million to ensure that 99 per cent of the population will have that access to very fast broadband by June 2009. A state-of-the-art broadband network will be rolled out across the country, delivering speeds of 12 megabits per second to 99 per cent of the Australian population at metropolitan comparable prices. Indeed, 75 per cent of the population will have speeds of 20 megabits per second. The government has awarded the $958 million Broadband Connect competitive grant to OPEL, which is a joint venture between Optus and Elders. The joint venture itself will contribute $917 million to this rollout, making this a total $1.875 billion investment in very fast, affordable broadband. It will be made up, essentially, of two components: firstly, the enabling of 426 ADSL2+ exchanges in outer metropolitan and regional areas, giving access to very fast and affordable broadband for an additional three million—