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Austar Strengthens Convergence Claims

[May 26] - Broadband communications firm Austar has announced the acquisition of Townsville-based Internet Service Provider (ISP) Ultranet for an undisclosed sum.

Austar expects the move to increase its capacity to offer a full range of communications services, turning towards the corporate and small-to-medium enterprise markets.

The Queensland ISP Ultranet has around 5000 of these subscribers and also provides connectivity, hosting and consultancy services.

The announcement coincides with the Townsville launch of Austar's two Internet services - austarnet, a dial-up Internet service for families and Internet newcomers and the high-speed chello broadband service.

Austar United broadband managing director Dana Strong said the acquisition was part of Austar's development into a fully convergent media company.

"This is all part of our strategy to develop our bundle of services so that we can offer customers choices, no matter what their technology needs are," said Strong.

Strong said while Ultranet customers would be keen to take up the chello broadband service, they would also benefit from the opportunity to acquire other Austar services such as pay TV on a bundled basis.

"Bringing a strong regionally-based company like Ultranet into the Austar fold gives a real boost to our position as a player in the ISP market,'' Strong said.

The deal continues Austar's push for regional subscribers, following the purchase of Gold Coast ISP 'On the Net' in mid-March, which delivered Austar another 6,000 subscribers.