Tasmania to get new broadband on fibre trial

Broadband via optical fibre, which provides transmission speeds up to 400 times faster than current ADSL technology, is set to be trialled in Tasmania.Dubbed TasCOLT -- for the Tasmanian Collaborative Optical Leading Test-bed trial -- the project will be carried out within select locations throughout Tasmania and will utilise optic fibre and ethernet Passive Optical Network (ePON) technology.

Broadband via optical fibre, which provides transmission speeds up to 400 times faster than current ADSL technology, is set to be trialled in Tasmania.

Dubbed TasCOLT -- for the Tasmanian Collaborative Optical Leading Test-bed trial -- the project will be carried out within select locations throughout Tasmania and will utilise optic fibre and ethernet Passive Optical Network (ePON) technology. The project is a relatively cheap trial for the Tasmanian Government at only AU$10 million, and will initially seek to establish 1000 connections in targeted areas.

The impetus for TasCOLT to be carried out was generated from the findings of a scoping study undertaken by the Tasmanian Electronic Commerce Centre (TECC) for the Tasmanian Government in August 2003. TECC is a collaboration between the Tasmanian Government and the University of Tasmania, and receives funding from the federal government's National Broadband Strategy under the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA).

TECC chief executive officer John McCann said: "The project is very timely as organisations such as the TECC have been priming awareness and business interests in online activities within the state for seven years. The commissioning of the TasCOLT trial network should be a key step in the creation of a competitive communications market within the state".

McCann went on to highlight the importance of the technology to removing barriers such as lack of bandwidth and competitive prices that have been hindering local industry. "From studies that have been conducted by the TECC, we see the door being opened to a raft of new investments in both traditional and new emerging industries over the next 2-5 years following the proof of concept that the TasCOLT trial will provide. We expect that these investments will come from existing business within the state as well as new external investors."

The news comes in the wake of an announcement last week by the the Australian Communications Authority that it has set up an information portal dealing with the new broadband over powerline (BPL) technology that will allow the delivery of telecommunications services over the domestic electrical grid.

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