Media Release Tuesday 9 September 2003
From the Minister for Information & Communication Technology
CAN DELIVERS BROADBAND COMPETITION TO PYRENEES
A $1 million project to boost access to broadband telecommunications in the Pyrenees and Northern Grampians regions was announced today by Information and Communication Technology Minister, Marsha Thomson.
Ms Thomson said the Pyrenees/Grampians Customer Access Network Demonstration Program (CANDP) project would extend telecommunications services throughout the Pyrenees and Northern Grampians Shire regions from five hub locations – Stawell, St Arnaud, Moonambel, Beaufort and Avoca.
“The Bracks Government sees telecommunications services as critical to the economic and community development of regional towns,” Ms Thomson said.
“The $1 million funding means Victorian business operators, hospitals and the community in these towns can gain access to fast broadband services including Voice over the Internet Protocol (VoIP), videoconferencing, telemedicine and toll-bypass voice services.
“The Pyrenees/Grampians CANDP project will particularly benefit the region’s wineries and tourism industry, which will be able to access high-speed broadband services that make electronic business (eBusiness) possible.
“Broadband services also have the potential to deliver enormous benefits to the region’s health sector through eHealth applications such as remote diagnosis, overcoming the distance barrier.”
Ms Thomson said the project was funded through the Bracks Government’s $10 million Customer Access Network Demonstrations Program (CANDP), which supports the development of alternative broadband telecommunications infrastructure in rural and regional Victoria.
“There is a lack of competition in service provision for the so-called “last mile” – linking the user to the broader telecommunications network – in regional areas,” Ms Thomson said.
“The CANDP is an innovative approach to alternative options for “last mile” service provision by promoting broadband communications investment across the State.
“Publishing technical, financial and commercial information about alternative broadband technologies trialed through the CAN program will help promote telecommunications investment in regional Victoria.”
Ms Thomson said telecommunications carrier Omniconnect would build, manage and market services for the Pyrenees/Grampians CANDP project.
She said the project was the latest in an initial series of four projects and follows recent launches in Shepparton, Castlemaine and Gippsland.
Minister for State and Regional Development, John Brumby, said the CANDP was one of many programs focused on improving rural and regional infrastructure funded under the Bracks Government’s Regional Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).
“CANDP is a great example of what the Bracks Government is trying to achieve with the RIDF,” Mr Brumby said.
“To date, the RIDF has generated around $370 million of investment in 80 announced projects covering industry and community development, transport, communications and power infrastructure and environmental management.”
The CANDP is a part of the Bracks Government’s Regional Connections policy designed to promote communications investment across Victoria.