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Australia introduces telecom bill for rollout of National Broadband Network

10-21-2010 10:32 BJT

CANBERRA, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy re-introduced the Competition and Consumer Safeguards Bill into parliament on Wednesday.

The legislation aims to reform the telecommunications sector and support the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN). It will pave the way for streamline access to communications services and strengthen consumer protection rules.

The government also said the passing of the bill will cut billions of dollars from the cost of rolling out the 43 billion dollars (42.6 billion U.S. dollars) NBN.

According to Gillard, the bill would deliver greater competition and lower prices, allowing Australians to reap the benefits of better broadband services, while she has urged the opposition not to not to delay the bill.

"Every day of delay for these reforms is another day of higher prices, less choice and fewer innovative services for consumers and small businesses -- especially for those in regional Australia, " Gillard told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday, adding that the NBN would lift productivity, attract investment, create jobs and boost gross domestic products (GDP) by up to six percent in the next 10 years.

Telstra, Australia's biggest telecommunications company, agreed to a 11 billion dollars (10 billion U.S. dollars) NBN deal in June to cooperate on building the government-run open access network.

Telstra chief executive David Thodey told Australia Associated Press that it would be in the best interest of shareholders for the bill to be passed quickly.

The legislation, however, is under threat due to a private member's bill introduced by opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull calling for the project to be subject to a cost benefit analysis.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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