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Hi-tech bus on the highway

A DOT.COM company’s chief executive officer is embarking on a six month, round Australia “tech trek” as a roving ambassador for the Internet Industry Association, and to report on the digital divide.

George Bray and his eight-year-old son will set off on August 1 in a $400,000 bus packed with the latest in wireless technology. A satellite connection will enable Mr Bray to access the Internet at speeds of up to 400 kps.

As an ambassador for the IIA, Mr Bray will be talking to rural and isolated communities about the technological issues affecting them.

The IIA and the National Office for the Information Economy will use the collected data to lobby the Federal Government.

“We’re inviting people to talk to us through the Web site so we can visit them while on the road and do a story about it,” Mr Bray said.

The bulk of the bus’ technology will run through Cisco’s Ethernet network. The Brays will connect to the Internet with ISP Access One via Optus’s B3 satellite. Due to problems with the two-way service, the outgoing connection will be through a GPRS mobile phone.

“We’ll be able to download videos and music at super speed. It won’t be as fast as cable, but then we’d need an awful lot of cable for that,” Bray said.

WA company Magellan GPS Systems will supply the trekkers with positioning software on a handy Palm Vx.

IIA executive director Peter Coroneos said the tech-laden bus would prove to people how much they could achieve in their own backyard. It was also a chance to stimulate the IT industry after the recent downturn.

The Tech Trek bus is due in WA in October.

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