CANBERRA: The Australian government is to launch a multi-million dollar campaign to persuade the public that regional access to broadband is not, in Rupert Murdoch's words, a "disgrace".

The media tycoon slammed the nation's online services last year [WARC News: 17-Nov-06] and called on premier John Howard's administration and telco giant Telstra to invest A$12 billion ($9bn; €7bn; £4.8bn) in boosting download speeds.

The attack appears to have stung communications minister Helen Coonan into action - that and the prospect of a general election later this year.

She says the government expects to spend up to A$5 million on the campaign, including advertising.

She adds: "It is aimed at Australians in regional and remote areas."

The country's average broadband speed is just over 1 megabit per second, ranking it 25th among OECD countries, according to a report from the Committee for Economic Development of Australia. Sweden tops the list with an average speed of more than 8 megabits per second.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff