Internet connections slowed by ancient wire network

Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world in access to the Internet via phone lines, relying on a copper wirenetwork part of which is more than 30 years old.

According to a new study released by the Productivity Commission today, Australia lags behind the US, UK and Canada.

Thirty per cent of the copper wire network is more than 30 years old.

The study found that one in four Australian businesses are unable to download a simple Web page in less than sixminutes using a normal phone line.

Only 73 per cent of Australian users had standard Internet connections of at least 28.8Kbps, compared to 80 per centin the US, 90 per cent in the UK and almost 100 per cent in Canada.

However, Telstra has promised to upgrade all lines to enable minimum access speed of 19.2Kbps and plans to roll outalternative high-speed Internet technologies such as one-way satellite, ISDN and ADSL.

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