Regional Players Termed Critical for Broadband

Broadband's future in Australia rests not with the likes of Telstra but with small players rolling out infrastructure in regional centres, according to a Siemens director.

Paul Lazarou, executive director, information and communications for Siemens, said: "I can't see a milestone for when the gates of broadband access will be open.

"We need more players like the Uecomms, a critical mass working in the regional centres. Broadband access is already bad in the CBD and half of Australian businesses are in regional centres."

Telecommunications analyst and managing director for Paul Budde Communications, Paul Budde agrees. "The demand for broadband is already there, but the industry is not aligned to opportunities in the market. Businesses in Australia have to be far more vocal in their demand for world-class telecommunication services if they want to compete in the global e-economy."

Budde is calling 2001 his "year to crusade for broadband". Currently, Telstra is forecasting only 650,000 ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) users by the year 2005. Budde said this would put us three years behind the rest of the world in broadband access.

John Forrest, managing director for Prism International Meteor, said he believes the present state of broadband in Australia "is pitiful".

"We are very frustrated with the lack of access; opportunities are out there in Hong Kong and the US and we have the functionality available, but we can't deploy."

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