Bendigo Bank builds community telcos

Bendigo Bank will launch a telecommunication venture using the same community-based model as its bank business. MD Rob Hunt said up to 40 communities around the country are ready to sign up with its new Community Telco Australia, a joint venture with AAPT. It will operate in a similar fashion to Bendigo's community banks where local businesses and groups pledge funds to establish a franchise. Bendigo has been developing the CTA concept for three years, trialling the scheme in Victoria with the Bendigo Community Telco. That project now has 800 company participants and is turning over $15 million a year. If the CTA venture is successful, Hunt said it may be listed on the Bendigo Stock Exchange prior to a possible ASX listing.