01/06/2004 - 22:00

ADSL available to those willing to pay

01/06/2004 - 22:00

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WHILE broadband comes in a range of guises, it is already an essential service for many business and residential consumers.

ADSL available to those willing to pay

WHILE broadband comes in a range of guises, it is already an essential service for many business and residential consumers.

But access remains an issue for certain areas, particularly regional and remote corners of the State.

This evolving trend towards broadband is being forged by newer, faster and cheaper technology.

Industry representatives believe that, while a hybrid of alternatives will contribute to the mix, terrestrial infrastructure will remain the dominant means of acquiring broadband access in the future.

“It will be a hybrid, a bit of satellite, a bit of radio, a bit of copper, a bit of fibre, there are about half a dozen different wireless protocols,” Chime Communications CEO Stephen Dalby said.

ATUG national director Dr Walter Green said “any terrestrial infrastructure would always exceed any wireless solution by about two orders of magnitude, in other words by about 100 to one”.

Broadband is currently available in several formats, including satellite, microwave, Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) and by Assymetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL). However, while cost remains an issue for some, Telstra argues that broadband access is available for those willing to pay.

Figures provided by Telstra indicate that, in Western Australia, around 90 per cent of the Perth metropolitan area can access an ADSL service – a figure that has continued to grow with increasing demand.

Further, the telco giant has indicated that the remaining 10 per cent of the population are located more than four kilometres from an ADSL enabled exchange.

But improvements in technology are overcoming these distance issues and enabling customers within a 3.5km radius to access ADSL.

A report by the Technology and Industry Advisory Council released in September 2003, however, claims ADSL is available to only 65 per cent of businesses and households in WA.

However, it says “satellite was the most widely available access technology”, which provided 100 per cent coverage.

Further, most agree that regional and remote areas in WA will always pose a unique set of problems, and opportunities, for providers.

WestNet managing director Peter Brown said consumers in regional WA had different expectations than their metropolitan counterparts.

“But there are some key regional centres that aren’t completely covered by ADSL, but that is a similar situation in Perth,” he said.

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