'

Govt reassures bush on Telstra 3G coverage

The federal communications minister has reassured rural Australia her department plans to work with Telstra and the communications regulator to ensure the bush won't be disadvantaged as the telco dumps its existing CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) network in favour of a new national third-generation (3G) mobile offering.

The federal communications minister has reassured rural Australia her department plans to work with Telstra and the communications regulator to ensure the bush won't be disadvantaged as the telco dumps its existing CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) network in favour of a new national third-generation (3G) mobile offering.

Announced in November last year, the 3G network is being implemented by Telstra in partnership with vendor Ericsson, and construction has already commenced in some areas.

"The government is committed to working with both the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and Telstra to ensure a smooth transition from CDMA to 3G," Senator Helen Coonan said in a statement this morning.

"While Telstra is bound by licence conditions and current contractual arrangements to provide a digital mobile network in regional Australia, the working group will ensure a cooperative and coordinated approach to replicating the coverage of the existing CDMA network," Coonan said.

That working group will convene for the first time this week, she added.

According to Coonan, the group will consider how Telstra will replicate the quality and coverage of its CDMA network with 3G, details of 3G trials, and the continuing role the ACMA will play in evaluating the network's performance.