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Telco backbone needs fixing

Correspondents in Sydney | December 13, 2007

AUSTRALIA'S telecommunications infrastructure needs an overhaul from the ground up, a national professional engineers' group says.

Engineers Australia, the national peak body for all engineering disciplines, says infrastructure providers need to be encouraged to be more proactive in identifying and appraising future projects.

Its report card on the country's telecommunications infrastructure, released today, identifies the need for a comprehensive strategic plan and long-term vision at a national level for telecommunications infrastructure.

''(It) identifies the lack of a comprehensive strategic plan and long-term vision for Australia's telecommunications infrastructure as the major hindrance to better and more equitable services from the cities to the country,'' Engineers Australia chief executive Peter Taylor said in a statement.

"The standard and spread of the telecommunications infrastructure is at the core of the national interest to provide the means for business to grow in the Australian and the world marketplaces.

"What is needed is the development of a strategy that would encourage infrastructure providers to be more proactive in identifying and appraising future infrastructure projects.

"We also need a strategy that encourages the uptake of newer technologies sooner.''

The report card gives a B rating - generally acceptable - for both mobile and fixed telecommunications in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. But in other capital cities and regional centres the rating fell to F.

The report highlights the benefits centres such as Bendigo and the Gold Coast gain from being adjacent to high-capacity telecommunications links.

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