06/11/2007 - 22:00

ISPs delivering faster broadband

06/11/2007 - 22:00

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Internet service providers across Australia are upping the stakes in their competition for market share, as the industry awaits the outcome of the federal election and release of national broadband policy.

Internet service providers across Australia are upping the stakes in their competition for market share, as the industry awaits the outcome of the federal election and release of national broadband policy.

In the past week, four companies – EFTel, Telstra, iiNet and Internode – have announced new high speed broadband services.

Perth-based EFTel Ltd has launched its very high speed digital subscriber line 2 service (VDSL2), to be available from February next year.

The network will enable speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) through its multi-service access nodes, to be established at 70 telephone exchanges nationally by June.

The company will partner with Queensland-based PIPE Networks and Chinese company Huawei Technologies on the project.

Meanwhile, both East Perth-based iiNet Ltd and Adelaide-based Internode Systems Pty Ltd have announced ‘naked’ DSL services, which provide a cheaper service by eliminating the need for a landline phone connection.

iiNet has established a registration website for its naked DSL service, which will be launched later this month. The service will provide ADSL2+ broadband with a broadband phone service, which will offer cheaper calls than a standard landline service, according to iiNet.

Internode is trialling a similar service at the moment, and plans to launch a commercial service in the first quarter of 2008.

EFTel also plans to launch a naked DSL service in the second quarter of 2008.

Telstra has joined in the announcements, revealing at an investor briefing last week that the company would have the capability to deliver up to 100Mbps using DSL and its existing copper wire network.

Western Australian Internet Association president Richard Keeves said he believed that inadequate government policy on broadband had forced the hand of internet service providers.

“I think what you’re seeing is the market at work in the absence of, or despite, government activity. The current election environment also confuses the issue, as no-one knows what the outcome will be,” Mr Keeves said. “There needs to be a unilateral, single approach that both (major political) parties agree on. Otherwise industry starts to roll out its own services in the absence of good opportunities and a national approach, with national infrastructure.”

Mr Keeves said Telstra’s monopoly over infrastructure continued to be an issue for industry.

“Telstra is continuing to want to dominate the market and is only responsible when the ACCC orders it to reduce its prices,” he said.

Mr Keeves said there were entrenched problems with the current system.

“There is no common plan that everyone agrees is a good idea. There is infrastructure going in that is not available to all at fair and equitable prices,” he said.

“Even in metropolitan Perth, there are areas that don’t have an acceptabl e broadband speed.”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced that it will be maintaining its pricing structure for the line sharing service between Telstra and other ISPs.

The ACCC is seeking public comment on Telstra’s applications for exemption from standard access obligations for fixed line services.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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