Review calls on Gov't to improve telco services in bush

An independent review has called on the Federal Government to change its telecommunications policy for rural Australia.

Comissioned by the Howard Government, the review has found that mobile coverage only exists across around 15 percent of the country. The committee has urged the Government to take action to rectify this.

Committee chairman Dr Bill Glasson told ABC Rural it's difficult to tell how much improvements would cost, but that the bush needs a better minimum service guarantee.

"Within that area, the economic basis of this country exists. In other words, that's our mining towns, our mining communities. It's our agricultural towns, which produce a vast amount of our gross domestic product," he said.

"And I think that we owe it to [them to] put in appropriate telecommunications services, so that we can support them in the industries that they exist in."

This week hundreds of regional Australians suffered after Internet connections were severed without notice for a week following a dispute between satellite provider IPSTAR and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) Lisp and GoBush.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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