Australia Expands Fiber Internet Network Footprint



Read more about key players in Australia's upcoming elections.

CANBERRA—Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Friday unveiled an expanded footprint for a planned national high-speed fiber Internet network that will now reach 93% of homes and businesses, up from 90% previously.

The network is a defining policy for Gillard’s ruling center-left Labor government ahead of an Aug. 21 general election.

But the program isn’t universally loved, even though it is popular with many voters. Australia’s main conservative Liberal-National opposition coalition has questioned the need for such an expensive service and has threatened to scrap the plan if it returns to power.

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Rural areas need broadband, McCaskill says

More and more politicians realize that unfettered access to broadband services is the key to continued prosperity in this country.  If they truly belief this, then they need to remove the regulatory and legislative restrictions that impede novel business models that can increase the deployment of broadband networks in rural areas.

TROY, Mo. | Access to broadband Internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity, and rural areas need more of it, Sen. Claire McCaskill and others said Friday.

McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, and Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski hosted a Rural Broadband Forum in Troy, about 50 miles north of St. Louis.

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Telecom players predict more mergers

On the heels of the blockbuster Qwest-CenturyTel merger announced last month, the telecommunications industry may be poised for further consolidation.

The next wave could stretch beyond traditional phone companies to fiber-optic-network operators such as Broomfield’s Level 3 Communications, slated to become the largest Colorado-based telco with Qwest’s pending departure.

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