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AUSTRALIA

Apple co-founder wants to become Australian citizen

Apple co-founder a fan of Australia's technology strategy and has applied for citizenship

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2012, 3:20am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2012, 5:05am

American Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with the late Steve Jobs, yesterday described his fondness for Australia and said his efforts to become a citizen were already under way.

"I actually like this country and want to become a citizen," he told the Australian Financial Review yesterday, saying he was particularly impressed with plans to roll out a national broadband network across the country.

Wozniak, who quit Apple in 1987 after 12 years, told local radio in Brisbane last week that he enjoyed his regular visits to Australia. "I am ... on the way to become an Australian citizen, that's a little known fact," he told station 4BC  on Friday after queuing up to buy the new generation iPhone 5.

"It turns out that I get to keep my American citizenship," he added. "I intend, you know who knows what will follow through in the next five years, I intend to call myself an Australian and feel an Australian, and study the history and become  as much of a real citizen here as I can."

In the interview with the Financial Review, Wozniak said the national broadband network was one of the reasons he wants to become a citizen.

Australia's ambitious A$35.9 billion (HK$290 billion)  National Broadband Network (NBN)  aims to connect all Australians to superfast internet by 2021 in a move the government hopes will transform the country's economy. "I support it very much," Wozniak, in Australia for the launch of the iPhone 5 and to speak at business forums, said.

The technologist said he had discussed the project with Australia's communications minister, Stephen Conroy. 

Wozniak said his home in California was not connected to a broadband service and there was no "political idea" to bring it to everyone in the US. 

"There's only one set of wires to be on and I'm not going to pull strings to get them to do something special for me," he said.

Under the NBN scheme, 93 per cent of homes, schools and businesses will be linked by fibre optic while those in more remote regions of the vast nation will receive their service by fixed wireless and satellite technologies.

Wozniak is chief scientist at Fusion-io, a Salt Lake City-based maker of flash-memory technology.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

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