Govt commits to extend broadband

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The government has committed $50 million over the next three years, in a bid to help connect people in metropolitan areas who have been unable to access broadband.

Senator Helen Coonan, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, said the Metropolitan Broadband Blackspots Program (MBBP) would help ISPs, so that they could offer "affordable broadband services to customers in metropolitan areas who currently do not have access to broadband”.

"The MBBP will specifically target areas where problems with network infrastructure make it unlikely affordable broadband services will be made available commercially within an acceptable timeframe," according to a statement from Coonan's office.

The Department of Communications, IT and the Arts plans to release a discussion paper, outlining the broad design of the MBBP. This would provide stakeholders with an opportunity to give feedback on how the program would be designed and administered, it stated.

Annual funding allocations are: $10 million in 2005-06; $20 million in 2006-07; and $20 million in 2007-08. This includes the cost of administering the program.

In addition, the NetAlert National Cybersafe Program has been allocated $2 million, to run a training roadshow and information campaign from 2004-05 to 2005-06, according to a statement.

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