June 22, 2011 / 10:57 PM / 6 years ago

Australia's $38 billion broadband plan clears last major hurdle

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<p>A man using his mobile phone accesses a broadband wireless internet connection on his laptop in central Sydney April 7, 2009.Daniel Munoz</p>

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's plan to build a $38 billion national broadband network cleared a major hurdle on Thursday with a deal to pay top telecoms firm Telstra A$11 billion ($11.6 billion) for using its infrastructure.

The project, which will use the former phone monopoly's fixed-line network and cable ducts, as the basis of a high speed network covering a country the size of western Europe to boost productivity and economic potential.

Under a deal between Telstra and the state-owned National Broadband Network (NBN), the project will use Telstra's existing fiber network and also its national system of ducts to roll out fiber to homes and businesses across the country.

Reporting by Adrian Bathgate; Editing by Balazs Koranyi

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