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Broadband Wireless for the Bush a Good Idea

2 May 2006

Last year the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) welcomed the Telstra commitment to deliver a commercial UMTS 850 wireless mobile phone and broadband data network that will deliver “the same or better coverage and services” than the current CDMA network.

“A broadband wireless network that covers the existing CDMA footprint and provides access to a mix of relevant information, and services on an equitable basis for information hungry farmers and rural communities is long overdue,” NFF President Peter Corish said today.

“Recent media comments have speculated on the adequacy of the proposed technology. NFF’s only interest is in ensuring the commitment given in 2005 is delivered and to ensure there is a seamless transition from CDMA to UMTS 850, particularly in those locations where there is no alternative.”

The current CDMA 3G wireless technology delivers a broad range of services to farmers, rural communities and regional industry – not just voice but internet, data collection (such as the National Livestock Information System), process control (switching things on and off) and monitoring functions (water volume flows, temperature, vehicle performance characteristics). There are a range of handsets, devices with in-vehicle kits and aerial to device cables to improve reception.

“Due of the importance of all these services to rural Australia, the NFF has lobbied Government to ensure there is a seamless transition from CDMA to UMTS 850 and looks forward to the Government announcing its position on this transition and the steps it will take to ensure service equivalence well before the CDMA switch-off,” Mr Corish added.

Successful and seamless implementation of UMTS 850 mobile phone and high-speed data services will provide rural and regional users with new opportunities to benefit from improved access to a range of online services. This will facilitate improved business and social opportunities for rural and regional Australians.

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250.

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