Telstra is testing DialConnect, a new product that allows customers to access a range of on-line information services. Using the internetworking protocol (IP), DialConnect operates as a public-switched data service in a manner similar to Telstra's Austpac x.28 dial-up service, according to Telstra sources.
Chris Day, senior product manager of Telstra's transaction networks, says that the DialConnect product is designed to support a wide range of data services accessed through standard telephone lines. He says DialConnect will be used to access on-line information such as banking, financial services and stock exchange databases.
Day says access to DialConnect will be limited to 28.8Kbit/sec during the trial period. This will be increased to 64Kbit/sec via ISDN once it is commercially launched, he said. "DialConnect can be useful in facilitating the development of regional Internet Service Providers as well as encouraging telecommuters, the small office/home office market, and giving people living in remote and rural parts of Australia more equitable access to on-line information services," Day said.
In other news, according to a Telstra-commissioned report, there are more than one million regular Internet users in Australia. "The survey shows that the Internet has become a mass market almost before it was noticed. And the remarkable news is that Australia is likely to become one of the top four countries in the world for Internet penetration. The gap between the leaders is just a few percentage points and this could be made up in a matter of a few months," said Bob James, Telstra's group general manager of strategic development.
Telstra's key Internet survey results include: 7 per cent of households have access to the Internet; 11 per cent of all people over 15 years of age had accessed the Internet for one hour in the week prior to the survey; 16 per cent of all people have accessed the Internet at some time; and 47 per cent of households have a PC.