REVIEW OF THE SATELLITE PHONE SUBSIDY SCHEME
The Satellite Phone Subsidy Scheme is an Australian Government initiative to make mobile communications more accessible and affordable for people living or working in the most remote parts of Australia. The Scheme provides a Subsidy towards the purchase of a mobile satellite phone for many people living in areas beyond CDMA or GSM terrestrial mobile coverage—as well as community groups, small businesses and emergency services operating in these areas. The Scheme has been in operation since August 2002. Information about the Scheme is available at http://www.dcita.gov.au/Article/0,,0_1-2_3-4_105408,00.html. The Regional Telecommunications Inquiry (the Estens Inquiry) recommended that the satellite handset subsidy be extended and that sufficient funds be provided to meet the full demand for the Scheme. In response, the Government announced that it would review the eligibility guidelines and committed an additional $4 million to extend the subsidy. The Department is currently consulting stakeholders about possible changes to the Scheme. Areas of interest include: removing the exclusion of maritime users; and removing the exclusion of aviation users.
Queries regarding the discussion paper may be addressed to: Ms Kristina Vaughan A/g Manager Agreement Implementation Section Networking the Nation Tel: 02 6271 1520 Fax: 02 6271 1078 Email: email@example.com