TPG to roll out 10Gbps fibre broadband in Adelaide

TPG will begin rolling out a 10Gbps-capable fibre broadband network for business customers in Adelaide at the beginning of 2018.

The City of Adelaide has announced that TPG will be progressively rolling out its 10-gigabit fibre broadband network across the city beginning in "early 2018".

Ten Gigabit Adelaide access points will be installed in buildings free of charge by the city and TPG, with the cost for accessing services "considerably less" than current options on the market.

The network will enable new possibilities for companies "without being inhibited by the restrictions and congestion often experienced by existing internet services", the City of Adelaide said.

"In a recent independent report, the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies puts the quantified productivity and efficiency benefits of Ten Gigabit Adelaide in the range of AU$16 million to AU$76 million per annum," the city said.

"Once in place, the network will benefit nearly all industries including the creative sector, health and wellbeing, finance, defence, advanced manufacturing, information management, and cybersecurity. It will underpin future innovation in areas such as robotics, artificial intelligence, way-finding, 3D printing, and augmented reality."

According to the city, the installation of the 10Gbps service could create up to 2,500 jobs over the next six years, as well as retaining current jobs there.

"This technology will be a game changer for the City of Adelaide. It will be a boom for local businesses and other organisations, but will also attract business from interstate and across the globe," Lord Mayor Martin Haese said.

"We will soon have a technological advantage which will make us an even more compelling place to set up a business or regional headquarters."

South Australia has been focused on becoming an innovation state, most recently attempting to push through laws in Parliament last week that would encourage tech companies to undertake research projects there -- but at the cost of potentially waiving most other state laws.

"To the extent that the governor considers necessary for the purposes of the project or activity and subject to this section, provide that an Act, specified provision of an Act, or any other law does not apply, or applies with specified modifications, in respect of the project or activity," the Research, Development and Innovation Bill 2017 states.

While the Research, Development and Innovation Bill 2017 has been shelved for now, it has bipartisan support despite protests from the Greens Party and from the Law Society of South Australia.

"I spoke against this sneaky government Bill," South Australian Greens MLC Tammy Franks said last week. "While the Greens have always supported research, development, and innovation, this Bill would effectively be able to suspend over 500 current laws at the stroke of a pen for a Research and Development Declaration.

"We've stopped this Bill for the moment, but I suspect it will be back with a vengeance next year. We'll be keeping our eyes on this one."

South Australia has also been allowing driverless car trials on its roads, with companies wanting to test their technology required to simply submit plans of the proposed trial and have sufficient insurance to protect themselves and the public.

Adelaide's GigCity 1Gbps network was launched in August, with South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill at the time saying it meant Adelaide is one of the "most connected cities" in the globe.

The government in June selected EscapeNet to be the internet service provider for its gigabit-speed network, and set aside AU$2.9 million over four years in its state budget to extend the network into more areas.

Adelaide's 10Gbps network was originally allocated AU$4 million in the state budget back in June 2016 to provide an alternative to the federal government's National Broadband Network (NBN).

The NBN currently maxes out at 1Gbps on its fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) network, although retailers have argued that the company's wholesale pricing model prevents them from being able to offer gigabit services to customers.

NBN is looking to enable gigabit speeds on its FttX and hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) networks by launching G.fast and DOCSIS 3.1, respectively, next year -- although it was last week forced to halt its HFC rollout and cease sales for six to nine months while it repairs issues causing dropouts.

During its AGM on Wednesday, TPG chair David Teoh said the NBN rollout has hurt his company's shares, but that the AU$1.9 billion mobile network TPG is currently rolling out would bring long-term benefits to shareholders.

"Each of us is, of course, disappointed about the margin headwinds that the group is facing as a result of the building of the NBN network, and the consequential decline in the company's share price over the past year," Teoh said.

"This year has seen us take the initial transformational steps for the next stage of TPG's growth and I am tremendously excited about the opportunities that our mobile projects offer to our group."

For FY17, TPG announced a net profit of AU$413.8 million, up 9 percent from AU$379.6 million a year ago, on revenue of AU$2.49 billion, up 4 percent. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) was AU$890.8 million, up 5 percent from AU$849.4 million.

TPG's Australian mobile network is expected to be complete across the Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra by mid-2018, while its Singapore mobile network will be complete in all outdoor areas by December 2018.

With AAP

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