Broadband extended to central western NSW

The Federal government has signed an agreement to expand broadband service capacity in the NSW Central West.

The service will supply 24 regional centres with broadband as part of the NSW Government and Broadband Network which provides high-capacity connections between Sydney and regional areas.

The agreement is between the federal government and Australia's Academic and Research Network which represents Charles Sturt University and Soul Converged Networks.

NSW Minister for Commerce, John Della Bosca said the service will build on established network points in Lithgow, Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo that allow carriers access to the infrastructure.

"The project partners have established an 'open access agreement' which will allow carriers to access the infrastructure, which will deliver competitive broadband to the Central West," he said.

Della Bosca said the NSW government approached the federal government to fund the project three years ago.

Only last week federal communications Minister Helen Coonan approved a plan to ensure Telstra maintains an ongoing local presence in regional, rural and remote Australia.

Coonan said the Local Presence Plan is effective from July 1, 2006 and will be in force until June, 2009. Telstra must report annually on the progress of its Local Presence Plan with the first report due by August 2007.

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