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High speed down under

Telstra, Australia's largest telco, plans to roll out its commercial high-speed Internet access next year.

High-speed Net access on broadband networks, already on a roll in the United States, is going global.

Telstra, Australia's largest telco, said today that it planned to roll out its commercial high-speed Internet access between January and March of next year with Motorola's CyberSurf modems. It would be the first such service in the Asia-South Pacific region.

"By using the high-capacity hybrid fiber-coaxial infrastructure, Telstra will be able to deliver richer content than would be possible using existing telephone lines," said Gerry Moriarty, chief executive of Telstra.

The service initially will be offered in Melbourne, according to Telstra. Subscriptions will be priced at $95 per month, plus a usage charge. Customers will buy the modems.

Telstra said the new service would be a forerunner to a range of interactive services in the future.

The customer win is a coup for Motorola as well, which wants to be a big player in the crowded cable modem market. The company has deployed its modems with Time Warner service in Akron, Ohio, and soon is expected to roll them out with Cox Communications in Southern California.

But Motorola has yet to deploy modems for @Home, one of the biggest players in the market. So far, @Home has deployed modems from a smaller competitor, LANcity.

Meanwhile, @Home is gearing up for another rollout of high-speed Net access in Hartford, Connecticut, later this month, through one of its owners, Tele-Communications Incorporated It launched service in Sunnyvale, California, yesterday.

@Home also plans to expand its services abroad but has not confirmed a timetable.