Australian government taps telcos for line speeds, length

Australian government taps telcos for line speeds, length

Summary: The Australian government requested detailed information on line lengths, ADSL port availability, and ADSL infrastructure as part of its review into Australia's broadband adequacy.


A recent audit of broadband coverage in Australia by the Department of Communications collected ADSL port, line speed, and line length information from internet service providers ahead of a planned shift in the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout to fibre to the node.

As the Coalition government looks to change the NBN rollout, and prioritise areas where broadband coverage is poor, the department was tasked to assess Australia's broadband quality and availability. The summary of that report was released two days out from Christmas in 2013, with Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull stating that the remainder of the report would be released some time this year, along with coverage maps indicating the availability of broadband across Australia.

The department had previously indicated at a Senate Estimates hearing in November that it would not be testing individual lines, but in answer to a question on notice released last week, the department revealed that it had managed to gather an extensive amount of information from the telcos.

"Carriers were requested to provide network coverage data and, where relevant, information regarding the location of ADSL infrastructure, availability of ports on that ADSL infrastructure, and a sample of ADSL1/2+ line sync speeds and location information to determine the approximate cable length," the department said.

Determining the length of a copper line will likely influence which premises the Coalition decides will receive fibre to the node instead of fibre to the premises or fixed wireless under a change.

The Department of Communications requested information from Telstra, Optus, NBN Co, Vodafone, iiNet, Opticomm, M2, Pivit, Openetowrks, ClubLinks, Places Victoria, Comverge, Service Elements, Bubble Telecommunications, Universal Communications Group, and CNT.

Curiously, the department did not list TPG as one of the companies it had sought information from. TPG has been preparing to offer its own fibre-to-the-basement service to 500,000 apartments and offices across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth.

Turnbull told The Australian Financial Review earlier this month that TPG's plans would have to be done within the existing laws, which specifically ban the so-called cherry-picking practice of building high-speed fixed broadband networks in profitable areas without offering the same sort of wholesale service as the NBN.

Turnbull said TPG's proposal would be reviewed as part of the cost-benefit analysis being conducted into Australia's broadband environment that is due to government in mid-2014.

Topic: NBN


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • More Fairy Tales?

    Once upon a time Turmbull promised us that if elected he had a ready to go, fully costed, faster & cheaper, guaranteed 25 Mbps for all by 2016 FTTN plan for only $27 Billion!

    Now it seems our 'agnostic to mode of delivery' minister actually didn't have a clue about the state of the copper, eventual cost, speeds achievable, capacity or time frame.
    Only that you "Vill settle for our HFC/ FTTN Fraudband & Like it!
  • Yep!

    If you lined each of the Coalition minsters up you could go along the line and cheerfully pin the word, 'LIAR' on each one. Liar, liar, liar, liar, liar, liar, liar, liar, liar, liar, liar, liar... and so on. The scary thing is they actually believe they are telling the truth when they lie. We were supposed to get the FT to the premises last October. Now we are not even on the map. They still pillory the opposition at each and every chance they get. That is really endearing them to the lied to people who voted for them - luckily it is succeeding in clouding every message they send as well.

    I still have a map as a jpg of FTTP in our area. It is not there now on the NBN site and we have to put up with 1.83Mbps down and 243kps up on ADSL2+ (measured three minutes ago to check the facts). A shirt-load of money for a dribble of product from iinet. We are in the Winthrop area of Western Australia. Two or three kilometres away in Ardross and Booragoon they have FTTP.

    What do I think of Turnbull? Ha!
    Dr. Ghostly