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Australia’s Broadband Strategy Sets Bar for Europe, US and Beyond

by David Mercer | Jun 09, 2009

Most countries face a challenge making fast broadband services available to every one of their most far-flung citizens, but the obstacles for Australia, with its vast tracts of sparsely populated territory, must be more testing than in most other parts of the planet. In fact, after a slow start Australia has done a pretty good job in recent years of getting basic broadband to the majority of its population. From a penetration rate of less than 10% in 2003, nearly three quarters of homes had acquired broadband by the end of last year, higher than both the US (60%) and Western Europe (61%). Not content with this success, the Australian government recently announced a policy to make fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services available to 90% of Australian homes over the next decade. These services will offer 100Mbps broadband, with the potential to upgrade to 1Gbps over time (see my post on Korea’s announcement of 1Gbps services). Our recent report, “Australia's AU$43 Billion National Broadband Network: Will It Play In Alice Springs?” , predicts that take-up of FTTH will reach 53% by 2020, when 5.2 million homes will be using 100Mbps or faster broadband. The AU$43bn investment by the Australian government seems like a huge bet at a time when the global economy is on its knees. But in our view it is also a forward-looking and timely statement of intent that Australia will not allow its communications networks to hinder the potential for new services and businesses over the coming decades. Twitter: twitter.com/DavidMercer_SA Client Reading: Sputnik Moment: The Call for a National Broadband Policy Asia Pacific Broadband Forecast: 1H09 Add to Technorati Favorites
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