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Government pursues bush ISP debts

The federal government today said it was considering legal action as it attempted to recover debts owed by Internet service provider (ISP) BushCom. In a statement issued this afternoon, the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) said BushCom had been selling services subsidised by the government's Higher Bandwidth Incentive Scheme (HiBIS).

The federal government today said it was considering legal action as it attempted to recover debts owed by Internet service provider (ISP) BushCom.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) said BushCom had been selling services subsidised by the government's Higher Bandwidth Incentive Scheme (HiBIS).

"BushCom was deregistered in early December 2005 after adverse independent audit findings indicated that it had not been providing HiBIS services in accordance with its HiBIS funding agreement with the Australian government," said DCITA.

"BushCom has entered into liquidation. The Australian government is actively considering all legal avenues in response to these circumstances."

DCITA said it had been advised in March 2006 that BushCom had been purchased by Commercial Capital Pty Ltd.

The department further said it would set up a hotline for affected customers and would endeavour to facilitate replacement Internet connections with an alternative subsidised provider.

That hotline, operational during business hours (Eastern Standard Time), is 1800 883 488.