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,
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.