When in doubt, roll out. Two major telcos are going full steam ahead on broadband upgrades despite the national broadband rollout.
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Telstra’s upgrades, which are taking place in northern Tasmania, incidentally, just 30km from NBN test site of Scottsdale, the APP reports.
Upgrade of exchange points in Dilston and Bridport are being carried out in order for Telstra’s customers to upgrade to faster ADSL2+ broadband connections.
The NBN trial run of the broadband network has included Tasmanian hamlets of Midway Point Smithton, Scottsdale, the latter two of which have less than 2000 inhabitants and is currently rolling out cables at seven ‘stage 2’ sites there.
What is interesting is the telco appears to be oblivious to the competing optic fibre installation, going on since 2009, and could be either hedging its bets that the NBN may not go ahead or else bolstering its cable infrastructure to rival the national network.
The telco are also currently in the process of finalising a deal which will see all of its existing copper fibre network surrendered to the NBN Co, as part of a $9 billion deal.
“These are outside our current plans for the NBN,” said Michael Patterson, Telstra general manager for northern Tasmania area, insisting current demand was sufficient to warrant further investment in upgrades.
Patterson also insisted said there would be no overlap with the NBN.
What is also interesting about this is the take up of the first sites subject to NBN was said to have been poor at just 15 per cent, at the beginning of April.
So, whether the ADSL2+ offered by Telstra was sufficient to quench Tasmanians thirst for high speed internet or not is anyone’s guess.
And they’re not the only telco upgrading in the island state. Adelaide based Internode are also busy at work there, upgrading its DSLAM equipment at exchanges as are iiNet.
However, Internode insist it is still ‘business as usual’ and will take up to 10 years for the $36bn NBN to be up and running in full and is keeping its current business plan going in order to meet demand.
And its “DSLAM will run along the NBN, as planned,” in years to come an internode spokesperson told ChannelNews earlier today.
During the Senate hearing into the NBN Access Bill last March, several telcos including TPG argued against companies ‘cherry picking’ lucrative CBD areas rather than focusing on residential customers.
However, this does not now appear to be the case, since this tussle between ISPs for business is going on in rural Tasmania.
Under the rules decided under the Access Bill, competing companies to the national broadband provider can only lay similar optical fibres first only if they are similar to the national network.