Cable & Wireless Optus today said that satellite technology is the best way to deliver untimed local calls to 40,000 regional Australians who currently miss out on a fair deal.
"Country people deserve the same access to communications as their capital city counterparts. It is unacceptable that they have to pay by the minute for local telephony when satellite technology can deliver cheaper calls," said Bob Murray, General Manager Satellite Services, Cable & Wireless Optus.
Mr Murray said that even the Government's own reports have acknowledged that satellite technology has the best capability and is the most cost efficient means of offering the largest range of services to rural Australia.
'Cable & Wireless Optus' satellite technology could provide a bouquet of services including voice, fax, Internet and pay TV throughout Australia," he said.
"Last year in Western Australia we demonstrated that voice telephony can be delivered by satellite. We are also currently trialing the delivery of data services such as Optus Television and Optus Internet via satellite."
As part of the plan to develop regional communications services, the Federal Government has earmarked $150 million to install the necessary infrastructure. Cable & Wireless Optus has expressed interest in providing this service.
While we have Australia's largest fleet of satellites, building the initial ground infrastructure to support satellite services in regional areas is expensive, so we need Government funding to help kick-start the project. The technology exists, all we need now is the political will and the capital funding," he said.
For more information:
Cable & Wireless Optus
Phone: (02) 9342 7850
'Untimed local calls scoping study', 23 December 1999
'Estimate of Net Universal Service Costs for 1998/1999' Australian Communications Authority