Enhanced service provision, improved Internet access speeds, lower prices and additional services are the expected results for remote Australia, from the winner of a government tender to provide untimed local calls.
The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston has invited seven companies: AAPT, Australian Business Technologies (Heartland), Datafast Telecommunications, Optus Networks, Pacific Telco Australia, Telstra Corporation and Vodafone Pacific to submit tenders, with applications also available to approved applicants.
The minister said the $150 million Untimed Local Call Access fund, from the proceeds of the second partial sale of Telstra, would enable upgrades to improve service delivery and provide full untimed local calls to extended zones in remote Australia.
Tenderers will have to commit to providing at least: untimed local calls in extended zones, new preferential rate calls in Community Service Towns, and local call rate access to an Internet service provider, whilst maintaining current service levels and meeting the statutory requirements of the Universal Service Obligation.
The closing date for the tender is 2pm Australian Eastern Summer Time on November 20 2000.