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AAPT and Bendigo Bank Partner to Bring Services to Regional Australia

18 August 2005 |Media centre

AAPT has partnered Bendigo Bank as the joint owner of Community Telco Australia (CTA) in a relationship to ensure that rural and regional Australian communities can access and manage their own telecommunication requirements through locally owned commercial enterprises.

Formerly a majority owned subsidiary of Bendigo Bank, CTA will become half-owned by AAPT under the new agreement.

AAPT Chief Executive Jon Stretch and BBL Managing Director Rob Hunt said the new relationship holds great potential for rural and regional communities.

“The new relationship is about delivering to rural and regional customers the standard of telephone, data and internet solutions that city customers take for granted,” they said.

“This will improve the capability of rural and regional communities to compete globally, and enable their communities to retain more capital for local development. Access to a full range of telecommunication solutions is no longer a luxury but is essential for long term sustainability.

“AAPT was the original carrier partner for the demand aggregation Bendigo Community Telco pilot that was formed four years ago in Bendigo by Bendigo Bank and a group of Bendigo businesses.

‘Bendigo Community Telco has been hugely successful, with the company recently completing an oversubscribed capital raising to fund new local telecommunication infrastructure and applications,” said Mr Hunt.

“AAPT has been our supplier of choice since 2000 and together we are now about to enter the next phase of Community Telco initiatives.

“CTA has helped six communities to establish their own telecommunication companies, enabling them to obtain the same benefits that were achieved in Bendigo. With AAPT now a joint owner of CTA, we are about to accelerate our activities across Australia by leveraging the capabilities and assets of both firms.”

Mr Stretch said the new relationship with BBL is a logical step as both companies are all about working closely together to add value and provide a full range of solutions to rural and regional communities.

“We decided to be a joint shareholder in CTA because we believe in the uniqueness of the Community Telco model and that it can make a difference to the telecommunication needs of regional and rural Australia.

“In addition to supplying fixed line voice, mobile, data and internet services, we’ll be working with CTA and the local operating companies to aggregate demand to provide customers in rural and regional Australia with the kind of solutions they need and desire.

“As a shareholder of CTA, AAPT is now able to contribute to the company’s strategic direction at a level that could not be achieved as just a supplier. Combining our telecommunication capability and knowledge with BBL and the local communities means that the telco agenda is managed at the coalface – not remotely in Sydney, Melbourne or even Canberra.”

Mr Stretch said working with the Bendigo Bank with its vision of assisting in the development of sustainable communities has been gratifying for AAPT.

“We’ve enjoyed making a difference for the people in the six communities which have engaged the community telco model and admire the Bendigo Bank’s community focused approach that extends beyond banking,” he said.

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