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The Launceston Broadband Project, a $30 million joint initiative between Telstra and the Australian Government that has been running since 1999, was extended in April 2004 until June 2006.
The project includes three components:
Telstra's Launceston Broadband Project gives residents and businesses the opportunity to enrol in a broadband digital services trial at reduced rates. These trials include participating in interactive video games, watching delayed TV segments, becoming involved with interactive health trials or undertaking distance learning activities. These trial applications are undertaken in the new multimedia development laboratory (B-eLab).
The Telstra Broadband-eLab (B-eLab) opened in Launceston in August 2000. The B-eLab is a multimedia development laboratory used by Telstra to test the potential commercial viability of its on-line products and services.
In particular, B-eLab undertakes research in the area of multimedia technology and applications. Researchers exchange and test emerging technologies and ideas.
B-eLab's experimental services utilise the roll-out of high speed digital access, using Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) technology. ADSL provides up to 30-40 times faster access than from a typical dial-up modem, meaning users will be able to down-load files (e.g. photographs, video, music) much faster, with pictures and information taking mere seconds to appear on the screen.
The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts announced in April 2004 that the project was to be expanded to include 1xRTT and 802.11 wireless access platforms for IT wireless application trials. Launceston residents will have access to wireless data services and the business community will have increased mobility and access to data services away from the office. Content filtering trials will also be conducted to assess both the technical performance of filtering technologies and consumer response to them.
The extended project also aims to stimulate new high-tech business opportunities in Launceston by increasing the participation of the Launceston information and communications technology community. To do this, Telstra and local industry are developing a plan to engage industry.
The Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCTA) web site has further information on the Launceston Broadband Project.