DECEMBER 23, 2009 -- Australian national carrier Telstra announced late last week that it will launch a fiber to the premises (FTTP) trial in Point Cook, Victoria.
Approximately 1,500 residential customers in the area will be among the first in Australia to have the carrier replace their copper access with fiber, Telstra says. The FTTP upgrade will bring “broadband speeds into line with some of the fastest residential services in the world,” Telstra asserted.
Telstra has invited the NBN Co. -- the organization responsible for the Government’s proposed A$43 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) deployment -- to act as an observer on the FTTP project. The goal is to “provide NBN Co. important insights into the network deployment and customer migration aspects” of the NBN.
The Australian carrier has had a contentious relationship with the Government in regard to the NBN, including having its bid for the NBN RFP rejected. (See "Telstra dropped from Australian broadband network competition.")
Executive Director of Telstra Network & Technology Michael Lawrey said Point Cook was selected because the area's rapid residential growth in recent years meant demand for broadband had outstripped the capacity of the copper network.
"Demand for broadband in areas of Point Cook is very high. In improving the capacity of broadband in these areas we had a choice of upgrading the copper infrastructure, which might shortly be overbuilt by the NBN, or using fiber," Lawrey said. "Rolling out fiber is in line with the Government's vision to get fiber to as many Australian homes as quickly as possible and could provide valuable lessons for the NBN."
The FTTP build will commence “immediately” and is expected to be completed by May 2010. On completion, residents in the trial area will be able to subscribe to an FTTP-based service or retain their existing copper line.
Once the deployment is completed, Telstra will trial an interim wholesale offering over the fiber, with the detail of both retail and wholesale offerings to be released closer to the build's completion.