Tassie fibre rollout lags state's timeframe

The launch of a commercial trial of a new optical fibre to the home (FTTH) service in Tasmania is likely to take place in the closing months of this year, some 12 months after an initial date specified by the state's government. Dubbed the Tasmanian Collaborative Optical Leading Testbed (TasCOLT), the trial is a partnership between government and industry that will see broadband at speeds of up to 100Mbps provided to 1,000 addresses in Hobart.

The launch of a commercial trial of a new optical fibre to the home (FTTH) service in Tasmania is likely to take place in the closing months of this year, some 12 months after an initial date specified by the state's government.

Dubbed the Tasmanian Collaborative Optical Leading Testbed (TasCOLT), the trial is a partnership between government and industry that will see broadband at speeds of up to 100Mbps provided to 1,000 addresses in Hobart.

Tasmania's then Minister for Economic Development Lara Giddings said in September a commercial launch would take place in late November or early December last year. However some parties have said the trial has suffered initial delays, and local FTTH specialist CEOS said yesterday that time frame was not realistic.

"It's going to be around the sort of October time frame when we have our first trial customers," the company's managing director Jonathan Spring said in a telephone interview with ZDNet Australia. CEOS is leading the TasCOLT consortium.

"It'll be towards December when we'll be turning on commercial services," the executive added.

While a spokesperson for the state government didn't respond to a request for comment by the time of publication, Spring said this time frame was normal and even speedy compared with similar efforts internationally.

"The thing to consider is when you look at the United States, the municipal deployments, when you look in Japan at their major deployments, they would typically spend in the sort of two years-plus timeframes in the planning phase," he said.

Spring said in the short time since the TasCOLT project kicked off, a lot of work had been undertaken on issues such as organising connections with other service providers and designing the network.

"So the project officially started the middle of last year. It hasn't yet been one year. So in the single year that the project's been under way officially, basically all the issues have been resolved," he said.

"Over the next three months the network will be deployed, and then the following three months thereafter, services will be turned up step by step, so by international standards, it's a really short time frame."

"I know that there are expectations and a lot of excitement around the nation about deploying this, but when it's deployed it will be successful, because all the issues have been covered," Spring added.

While another TasCOLT partner, the Tasmanian Electronic Commerce Centre (TECC), claimed in November some delays had been caused by local council bureaucracy, Spring denied the allegations.

"Devonport and Hobart councils were both very enthusiastic about the project," he said. "The councils were proactive, worked closely with our consortium, helped us engage with the community, we put together planning documents which they approved."

Despite the perceived delays, Spring was overwhelmingly positive about the project he believes could be a test case for other Australian FTTH developments.

"It's a really exciting project," he said, praising efforts by the project's many partners. Those include the Tasmanian state government, Internet service provider TasTel, electricity utility Aurora Energy, CEOS itself, TECC, IT product development agency Protocol Information Technology, in addition to vendors Hitachi, Corning, Intel, Senko, Cisco and Acer.

TasTel is a partnership between Aurora, telco AAPT and renewable energy business Hydro Tasmania that also retails services for a Tasmanian broadband over power line trial currently being run by Aurora.

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All