I just posted this comment at Whirlpool at about Telstra’s proposed “Fibre to the Node” network.
Some of Telstra’s proposals are outrageous, but some (i.e. FTTN) would solve many problems we currently face with the availability of higher-speed broadband in this country.
Not really. Telstra has said its FTTN network will cover five capital cities only… it will have nowhere near the reach that the current copper network does.
Now, if you’re talking merely about availability of HIGHER-speed broadband (>1.5Mbit/s), then yes, but that is just the carrot that Telstra is using to lure the donkey… the donkey being the government and the voters, and the outcome being Telstra being able to lock out competitors from viably offering broadband over the last mile copper network.
The truth is that Telstra doesn’t need to roll out fibre in order to offer higher speed broadband. It could do so today by removing the 1.5Mbit/s speed limitation on its ADSL1 service. Many people would be perfectly happy with 8Mbit/s.
Telstra could also switch on the many ADSL2+ DSLAMs it already has deployed in its network. People have been quick to forget that before this Trujillo fiasco, Telstra had been saying for months and months that it was busy upgrading its DSLAMs for ADSL2+ compatibility, and it was expecting a mid-2006 launch of the service.
Finally, it is only proposing to offer 12Mbit/s broadband even through its FTTN network, which other ISPs have demonstrated can be delivered to most customers through DSLAMs installed at exchanges, using existing line lengths.
With its FTTN network and dramatically shortened copper line lengths (1.54KM) Telstra could actually offer speeds closer to 20Mbit/s.
In summary, FTTN is ALL about removing the ability for competitors to viably offer alternative ADSL services outside of Telstra’s ADSL1 wholesale network, and NOTHING to do with offering faster speeds.
(Yes, Telstra says competitors are free to cross-connect to the 20,000 fibre nodes it said it would need to roll out, but really, which competitor could afford to do that, and before you say Optus/AAPT/Vodafone, would they really be stupid enough to repeat the duplicate infrastructure fiasco that occurred in the cable days?)