6000km broadband blackspot announcement imminent

Announcement delayed because of ETS and Liberal Party issues

The Federal Government is poised to announce the rollout of an additional 6000 kilometres of fibre optic backbone as part of its Regional Backbone Blackspots Program.

At the launch of NICTA's new Sydney offices and labs, communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy said the announcement would have been made last week but was delayed because of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and Liberal Party leadership change issues.

"Tomorrow [December 4] we will be announcing a major blackspot fibre rollout. I would have announced it earlier, I would have announced it last week but the media has been a little full of a number of issues," Conroy said.

"There is 6000 kilometres of fibre being announced tomorrow right around Australia. All those blackspots, all those areas where people haven't been able to get competition where there is one provider with the main pipe into the town. This is just the beginnings of how we are going to transform IT and telecommunications in the country."

Conroy would not reveal which towns would benefit from the rollout or which company has been selected.

After announcing its National Broadband Network (article words) in April, the government followed on with $250 million on new backbone transmission links to several Internet regional centres as part of its Regional Backbone Blackspots Program in July.

The initial priority locations were: Emerald and Longreach, Queensland; Geraldton, Western Australia; Darwin, Northern Territory; Broken Hill, New South Wales; Victor Harbor, South Australia; and South West Gippsland, Victoria.

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Tags conroynictaNational Broadband Network (NBN)Regional Backbone Blackspots Program

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