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>From hartr@archenland.interweft.com.au  Sun Oct 20 10:12:09 1996
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Date: Sun, 20 Oct 1996 10:13:59 +1000 (EST)
From: Robert Hart <hartr@interweft.com.au>
Reply-To: Robert Hart <iweft@ipax.com.au>
To: Karin Geiselhart <u833885@student.canberra.edu.au>
Cc: link@charlotte.anu.edu.au
Subject: Re: Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service
In-Reply-To: <199610192259.IAA05578@student.canberra.edu.au>
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On Sun, 20 Oct 1996, Karin Geiselhart wrote:

> >Schools and libraries in high-cost and low-income areas will receive extra
> >help in this proposal.  For special and advanced services, these
> >institutions will receive extra discounts to make these services more
> >affordable.  These discounts will be supported by the USF and will be
> >determined on a sliding scale.

Now - this is *exactly* the sort of proposal that is required for a
country with the geography and demography of Australia.

Although I do not now live in Port Hedland (as my chilly nose, ears,
fingers and toes keep reminding me), I am still very conscious of the
needs of remote/rural Australia.

As a society, we need to guard against the separation of our society into
information rich/information poor (as well as economic riches). Unless
something can be done to overcome the unrealistic long haul
telecommunications costs, a proposal such as this is definitely required
here in Australia.

> >Initial cost estimates from the NTIA run from $1.5 to $2.5 billion to be
> >paid by telecommunications ratepayers through the USF.  Congressman Owens
> >reminded the Joint Board that although that may appear to be a large
> >number, it is less than the price of one aircraft carrier and probably not
> >out-of-line with the country's investment in the development of the
> >intercontinental railroad.  Estimates also include the current cost of T1
> >lines and other services that could dramatically drop with the increased
> >demand of 110,000 schools and 16,000 libraries.  The NTIA cost estimates
> >are dwarfed by current USF and access fee support for local phone systems
> >which are estimated to be between $5 and $18 billion a year.

I am not sure if I understand completely what is being proposed, but I
think that "paid by telecommunications ratepayers" implies some sort of
telecommunications surcharge to fund the proposal?

If so, I think (on first inspection) this is an excellent way of doing
it.

Robert Hart                                  iweft@ipax.com.au
Voice: +61 (0)3 9735 3586
InterWeft, 35 Summit Road, Lilydale, Victoria 3140, Australia
        IT, data and voice networking Consultancy
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