The Victorian government has launched a AU$6.5 million expansion of Telstra's mobile broadband network in the state. The expansion -- a commitment made by the carrier as part of its winning tender for the state government's mobile services business -- pushes the telecommunications giant's mobile broadband services to regional areas.
Victorian Minister for Information and Communication Technology, Marsha Thomson, said the project was an outcome of the government's "aggregated telecommunications purchasing strategy".
Thomson announced that the mobile broadband network -- presently available in Ballarat, Geelong and the Melbourne central business district -- will be rolled out to several regional locations around Victoria over the next 12 months, starting with Bendigo and Seymour.
"This agreement will accelerate the availability of Telstra mobile broadband to Victorians, especially in regional areas. It is a blueprint for other states to follow," Thomson said.
Thomson said the government undertook to aggregate its telecommunication purchasing "to not only lower the cost of these services to government but also to ensure the community benefited from increased infrastructure investment, particularly in provincial Victoria".
"The tender for the first portion of the government's business not only reduced telecommunications cost to government by more than AU$100 million over the next 5 years, but it also secured AU$30 million of new telecommunication infrastructure investment for Victoria," she said.
The expansion of Telstra mobile broadband across Victoria is part of an estimated AU$4 million per annum mobile contract won by Telstra in September 2004.