Regional Victoria in broadband crisis: minister

Regional Victoria is suffering an infrastructure crisis with 163,000 homes and businesses without access to broadband, according to Victorian Minister for Information and Communication Technology, Marsha Thomson.

A new report, commissioned by the state government, has revealed that almost 44,000 regional Victorian homes and businesses who want broadband cannot access it, almost 24,000 more than in 2003.

Thomson said most of the people missing out on broadband live in regional or rural Victoria.

The government's Higher Bandwidth Incentive Scheme, funded under the federal $1.1 billion Connect Australia package, provides regional areas with broadband access at metropolitan rates.

The package includes the $878 million Broadband Connect program, and the $113 million Clever Networks program.

However, the Bracks government believes current programs are not working and a more flexible model should be adopted.

The full report Spend/Demand Telecommunications in Regional and Rural Victoria can be found online at the government's Broadband Access Office - www.mmv.vic.gov.au/broadband.

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