Old wire network slows Internet in Australia

Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world in access to the Internet via phone lines, relying on a copper-wire network part of which is more than 30 years old.

According to a new study released by the Productivity Commission today, Australia lags behind the US, UK and Canada.

Thirty per cent of the copper wire network is more than 30 years old.

The study found that one in four Australian businesses is unable to download a simple Web page in less than six minutes using a normal phone line.

Only 73 per cent of Australian users had standard Internet connections of at least 28.8K bps (bits per second), compared to 80 per cent in the US, 90 per cent in the UK and almost 100 per cent in Canada.

However, carrier Telstra has promised to upgrade all lines to enable a minimum access speed of 19.2K bps and plans to roll out alternative high-speed Internet technologies such as one-way satellite, ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) and ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line).

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