NSW Govt out to wire rural areas

NSW Govt out to wire rural areas

The NSW Government is delivering on its promise to turn the bush telegraph into high-speed fibre optic cable. Or at least this was the message Kim Yeadon, NSW minister for Information Technology, was pushing at today's now2001 conference held in Sydney.

In his keynote address Yeadon claimed the delivery of broadband connectivity was becoming a utility, much like electricity, that people in rural and regional areas should have the same access to as people living in the city. Calling on strong leadership from the public and private sector, Yeadon said the Government was doing its part to bridge the technology divide between what he described as the "haves and the have nots".

Yeadon mentioned a number of initiatives the Carr Government had employed to give rural NSW access to new and emerging technologies, such as using existing Government infrastructure to push Internet services. Some of these initiatives include letting people use public school computer and Internet facilities after school hours, and using the networks of power and rail utilities to supply carriers with broadband services.

With the embers of the Federal Government's bungling of its outsourcing initiative still smouldering, Yeadon claimed the Carr-led NSW Government was reporting annual savings of $10 million under current outsourcing agreements, with projections of $32 million in savings if further contracts are realised.

Yeadon took the opportunity to admonish the Federal Government's use and sale of radio spectrum as underutilised and "short sighted", claiming the benefits of deregulating the telecommunications industry in the 1990's have not been realised at a consumer level.

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