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Biggest 2 Australian telcos join broadband rollout
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA (AP) - Australia’s two largest telecommunications companies signed lucrative deals with the government to join the rollout of a fiber optic national broadband network that will be among the world’s fastest.
Telstra Corp. and Optus Pty. Ltd. _ which combined represent 60 percent of Australia’s retail broadband market, signed separate deals with the government Thursday to close down their own infrastructures and transfer customers to the national broadband network, known as the NBN.
But the deal with Optus, a subsidiary of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., is an added bonus that will boost customers and drive down costs, Treasurer Wayne Swan said.
“Two major telcos have now signed on with the NBN and that will mean a very strong take up of the NBN,” Swan told reporters. “This will, of course, completely change the market structure in Australia.”
Telstra, a former government-owned monopoly that still owns the nation’s aging copper wire communications infrastructure, which it leases to competitors, has agreed to progressively disconnect that infrastructure.
Telstra and the government expect the agreement to deliver AU$11 billion to Telstra over decades in replacement revenue through disconnection payments, and new revenues through payments for access to its infrastructure.
The government has already begun rolling out the network, which will deliver broadband speeds of 100 megabits per second to 90 percent of Australian homes, schools and businesses through fiber-optic cables connected directly to buildings.
The new speeds are 100 times faster than most Australians currently get _ enough to watch multiple high-quality downloads of movies or television shows at once from the same connection.
A handful of countries _ South Korea, Japan, France and Germany among then _ currently have comparable speeds.
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