Industrial estates lag on ADSL capability

MANY businesses in Perth’s major industrial estates might never be able to use the standard system for high-speed Internet connections.

Telstra has confirmed that ADSL services are not possible in parts of Malaga, Welshpool, Kewdale and Canning Vale. Modifications to make the existing copper wire network ADSL compliant are not possible because the network’s backbone runs on a different medium – the more advanced optic fibre cable.

Gary Jorgenson, the proprietor of Jorgenson Albums, said he had recently moved into new premises in Malaga and had wired his office up for Internet use. He said a broadband supplier had approached him to offer ADSL services, but that company had to withdraw its offer when it found it could not actually supply the service.

Mr Jorgenson said he had been told the problem did not relate to the local telephone exchange, which was only a short distance from his office, and which had been modified to provide ADSL services.

Telephone exchanges must have specific equipment installed in them to allow data to be transferred at high speeds over copper wire networks. Premises that want to use ADSL must also be within about five kilometres of an ADSL-enabled exchange.

A Telstra spokesman said Perth’s growing population was at least partly a reason that ADSL services were not available in some areas. Because homebuyers increasingly wanted additional phone lines connected to their houses there was insufficient copper network capacity reserved for industry.

“Most of the (network) build was designed around each household and business having one telephone line, maybe two. These days the average home wants three to four, so you really put a stretch on the copper,” the spokesman said.

He added that ADSL was being rolled out across Australia in the next 12-18 months, and while some areas would not receive access immediately, it would be available in time.

But the spokesman conceded that, in Mr Jorgenson’s case, the presence of a Remote Integrated Multiplexer (RIM) in the network would preclude ADSL from being offered.

RIMs enable signals sent on copper wire to be converted to an appropriate form for transmission on optic fibre cables. RIMs do not affect voice data, but ADSL signals cannot be converted from analogue to digital and back again.

The Telstra spokesman said that, while the Canning Vale and Ballajura (which services parts of Malaga) exchanges had been ADSL-enabled, not all businesses and households would necessarily be able to use the service.

He said disaffected customers could consider using either Telstra’s two-way satellite service or ISDN for broadband delivery. Wireless access is also possible in some areas, but Telstra does not offer this service.

But Mr Jorgenson said each of the alternatives was more expensive and offered poorer transmission speeds than ADSL. He said although high-speed Internet access would be beneficial, his business was not so reliant on this to warrant putting a dish on his business’s roof.

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