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The Draft guidelines to improve the Australian Broadband Guarantee have been released by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy.

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“The Rudd Government has announced that $270.7 million will be made available to fund the Australian Broadband Guarantee program until June 2012. These new draft guidelines will enhance the program to ensure it delivers a higher level of broadband service and provides better protection for consumers,” Senator Conroy said.

The Broadband Guarantee guidelines include:

    * A higher level of broadband service than currently required.
    * A requirement to offer shaped data or excess data at a capped cost to minimise bill shock.
    * Standard contract clauses that protect the interests of consumers in a fair and consistent way.

Internet Service Providers will also have greater certainty to invest in terrestrial networks with new guidelines providing for two-year registrations and exclusivity in registered service areas up to 2012 provided certain conditions are met.

To give ISPs a clear indication of the priority areas the Government will publish online ‘heat maps’ of underserved premises eligible for the Australian Broadband Guarantee program.

According to the draft, payments of up to $6000 per customer will be provided for very remote areas to help cover the costs involved in providing infrastructure in these costly and difficult to service places.

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