The full text of the letter by Internode MD Simon Hackett follows below.
I am writing to inform you that Internode is continuing its negotiations with the Federal Government in order to recommence deployment of wireless broadband in regional areas including the Yorke Peninsula and the Coorong. Although existing Internode customers are not affected, these negotiations are important for all regional residents who are seeking access to affordable broadband.
Internode is committed to deploying affordable and sustainable broadband services in regional South Australia. The challenge is to make broadband services commercially viable over large distances with low population densities. Until March this year, the Federal Government provided a per-customer subsidy to assist companies such as Internode finance the high capital cost of delivering affordable broadband in rural areas. Without this subsidy, each customer would face a broadband connection cost of $2000 or more.
In March, the Federal Government reduced this subsidy by as much as two thirds, undermining the business case for Internode to deploy wireless broadband infrastructure in regional areas. Internode is undertaking negotiations with the Federal Government’s Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) to seek a restructure of this program to make regional broadband deployments both affordable and sustainable. Affordability is vital to enable you to buy a broadband service. Sustainability is essential to guarantee that you will have access to broadband next year and beyond.
I want to reassure you that Internode is doing its best to negotiate an agreement that will allow us to provide you with broadband services comparable to those in metropolitan areas. These negotiations are taking a long time because DCITA requires a process of fully defining and registering companies under its proposed new funding support program. DCITA does not expect this restructured scheme to be complete until early June.
Internode is investing a great deal of time and energy to seek an outcome that provides you with access to affordable broadband and I look forward to the point at which we can provide you with details about when broadband services will be available and what they might cost.
Internode and Agile Communications