Forget the NBN, 100Mbps is already here

Forget the NBN, 100Mbps is already here

Summary: Telstra and TransACT will shortly begin offering 100Mbps broadband to many customers. By moving early, the companies have not only raised the bar for Australia's broadband services, but thrown down a challenge to a government that now faces increased pressure to deliver the NBN as promised.

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It's amazing what telcos can do when they put their heads to it. Telstra, TransACT and Optus announced last week that they would switch on 100Mbps internet services — making ADSL customers green with envy and, one might suspect, Stephen Conroy green with worry.

The NBN isn't the only way Australians can get 100Mbps services, the telco giant has proved; it is now up to the government to match and exceed Telstra's example.

With actual, purchasable 100Mbps consumer services out there in the real world, Australia's broadband market will change dramatically — not in terms of what most speeds people are actually getting, but in terms of what everybody else's services are compared to. Bet your booties that all three companies, which have first-mover advantage thanks to their turbo-charged fibre and hybrid fibre-coaxial networks, will be working to raise the bar as high as they can.

Let the services begin, as they say in the classics. What services? The long-elusive triple play — telephony, television and data — is a good place to start. They may be a footnote to its ongoing political intrigues, but Telstra has been steadily building its credentials as a triple-play provider: increasingly flexible Foxtel packages now reach mobiles, smartphones (including, recently, the iPhone), and even allow viewing of video via the web.

It's all part of a strategy to add more flexibility to shift its video interests online — not only because it sounds cool, but because a data-based video stream allows Telstra to look beyond the edges of its own network and onto the eventual NBN.

For now, however, Telstra's 100Mbps customers are limited to its own HFC network, which makes these initial services as much about expectation-setting as anything else. But there is a bigger game afoot here as Telstra proves a very big point with the government.

The proven ability to deliver 100Mbps services to large numbers of customers is a big step for Telstra — like when your little brother says he can eat more worms than you, and then does. In delivering real 100Mbps services like it said it would, Telstra has shifted the onus onto a government that now faces even more pressure to deliver the NBN as designed.

If problems derail the NBN, or if it cannot deliver the same experience Telstra's cable network can, Telstra will score no small amount of philosophical bragging rights. Ditto TransACT, which has long provided some pretty excellent triple-play services to residents of a few select pockets of the ACT; its content offerings already well established, the addition of 100Mbps is not so confrontational as evolutionary.

Even Optus — which will be third to the market with 100Mbps but still has good reach with its HFC network — isn't going to be sitting around waiting for the NBN.

So, while Telstra's HFC network is still limited to the same 2.5 million households or so that it has always serviced, its head-start in building customer loyalty should not be underestimated. Telstra has several years to set customer expectations for 100Mbps internet in Melbourne, potentially becoming the favoured provider — and developing strategies to counter the eventual introduction of the NBN.

Even as the government continues to back the NBN's ponderous roll-out, Telstra, Optus and TransACT will use their lead time to tweak pricing, charging a premium for their 100Mbps services today to recover their capital investments — and build up a data-based infrastructure that's ready to be switched onto the NBN at a word. Telstra's new T-Box is another extension of this, combining PVR capabilities with access to Telstra's increasingly data-based content library over any network capable of carrying it.

Little wonder Conroy is so eager to wrest control of the HFC network from Telstra: if Telstra plays its cards right, it can build up a strong 100Mbps following and create the same kind of inertia that for high-speed broadband that it has long enjoyed on the copper local loop. This, in turn, will diminish the NBN's natural market and create new forms of competition for Conroy's biggest project.

Pricing, marketing and bundling will of course be critical for the success of these new services. But by living up to its promise to bring 100Mbps services before year's end, Telstra has scored a direct hit on the government. The NBN isn't the only way Australians can get 100Mbps services, the telco giant has proved; it is now up to the government to match and exceed Telstra's example. From 1 December, every day the NBN is not operating, is another tiny win for Telstra.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Telcos, Optus, Telstra

About

Australia’s first-world economy relies on first-rate IT and telecommunications innovation. David Braue, an award-winning IT journalist and former Macworld editor, covers its challenges, successes and lessons learned as it uses ICT to assert its leadership in the developing Asia-Pacific region – and strengthen its reputation on the world stage.

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56 comments
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  • NBN

    Too little too late Telstra.

    You are still responsible for the poor maintenance of all your lines which has lead to many many people experiencing poor service.

    Optus uses Telstra (as does almost every other ISP) as their wholesaler, meaning they rent the use of Telstra's lines, so it's not surprising that once Telstra has obtained 100Mbps speeds other ISPs can follow.
    anonymous
  • Very interesting. But,

    Conroy can try....."Little wonder Conroy is so eager to wrest control of the HFC network from Telstra"

    He must, if he can afford it, ... BUY control "on Just Terms".

    A timely precedent on the other Rudd's folly........"Meanwhile, senior lawyers have warned that the scheme could leave taxpayers exposed to billions of dollars in compensation claims from polluters. Legal advice provided to the Australian Greens by Melbourne senior counsel Brian Walters and prominent Sydney barrister Matthew Baird has concluded that tradeable emissions permits would be regarded under the law as a private property right.

    The advice points out that the constitution requires the Government to provide compensation on ''just terms'' when it alters the value of private property. It suggests any move to strengthen emissions targets could affect the value of assets such as coal-fired power stations if the Government is forced to withdraw permits from the system to meet the more onerous target. The potential liability, the lawyers warn, could be worth billions of dollars."

    Extracts: Courtesy:

    http://www.theage.com.au/environment/libs-warn-turnbull-carbon-plan-risks-split-20091121-is7x.html
    anonymous
  • 100Mbps - BUT not for Tesltra Pair Gain Victims

    Isn't it wonderful!
    100Mbps, when those in areas of Canberra (yes) and Southern Queensland have yet to see "broadband" at all - courtesy of Telstra's RIM and Pair Gain disasters.
    It is really time that politicians got the mess sorted out - FAST - since for many of us such necessities as patching an OS or app, getting latest anti-virus signatures etc are just wild dreams!
    For us - what's YouTube and so on?

    Telstra couldn't care less, it seems - well, that's according to my Telstra shop - not in any legislated service requirement on them - so NO GO! NOT INTERESTED! NO GOOD PROFITS THERE!

    and the NBN - well, when?
    anonymous
  • Too bad speeds like this arnt availible everywhere

    The speeds telstra is offering may be great but i highly dout that telstra will offer these speeds at a resonable price point, currently telstra charge a horendouc 90 bucks a month for 20 gigs on adsl2+. and as far as get this in my area is near inposible. I live in the metropoliton area. Heck i live 400 meters from the exchange and cant even get adsl2. This is why the NBN is such a great thing. It will mean that most places will be able to get speeds of 100mb and at a reasonable price.
    anonymous
  • Optus HFC

    No, you are wrong. Optus and Transact are offering this on their own HFC networks. If you have Optus cable installed, they run a separate coax cable to your house in addition to your existing Telstra line. Optus does lease some copper off Telstra for ADSL but that is not relevant to this article.
    anonymous
  • Wholesaling

    You will find that Optus actually uses its own network for HFC Cable. It does not in any way share Telstra equipment for this service. It does however use Telstra's copper network for ADSL2+ services
    anonymous
  • agree with your sentiment..

    ..but your facts let you down. Optus use the Telstra network for DSL services, not cable which is a completely different (and independent) network.
    anonymous
  • When 100Mbps is NOT 100Mbps!

    Telstra's cable network is a SHARED medium!

    You CANNOT get true 100Mb/s dedicated speed unless you are the ONLY person using your portion of the cable network! FACT!

    Telstra love to "spin" - and saying that customers on their cable network now have access to 100Mbps network as a comparison the the NBN is exactly that - SPIN!

    (The same goes for all other coax networks!)
    anonymous
  • Re: When 100Mbps is NOT 100Mbps!

    Anonymous you are correct that unlike ADSL, HFC does share bandwidth with all other subscibers on the same node.

    However, I currently use Bigpond Cable Extreme and I regularly test my speeds using speedtest.net and I get 23Mb/s on average.

    I also don't have a home phone and use VoIP for incoming and outgoing calls over the Cable network.

    I will admit that if I didn't continually tell Bigpond that I'll leave them if they don't give me $20/month off my bill, I would leave them for ADSL!
    anonymous
  • NBN Fibrem 100Mb/s will be throttled upstream !

    Telstra HFC docsis 3.0, 100 mb/s is not contended like DSL services.

    See Technical specification. Dr Hugh Bradlow

    Real world speed will be far closer to nominal 100 mb/s even with major traffic demand.

    Also worth noting that NBN fibre services are likely NOT to provide nominal 100 Mb/s !

    As pipes upstream from the tails WILL NOT be sized for the full 100 mb/s service each and every tail is connected for.

    Any way the Telstra nominal 100Mb/s is HERE and NOW as opposed to the NBN nominal 100mb/s many years away and not 1 customer to speak off.

    Highly likely the NBN if it makes it to advertising for customers (via wholesaler's) will also be competing with wireless at 100 mb/s !!

    NBN viability is unequivocally dead without Telstra. . . . . . . wonderful plumage though.
    anonymous
  • NBN

    The only reason Tel$tra is doing this is to score points on the NBN.

    If Tel$tra was about services not profit then Australia would have world class infrastructure not the rubish we have now.

    Bring on the split
    anonymous
  • the truth is...

    Telstra's SCARED sh*tless.
    anonymous
  • Not just Telstra

    Optus loves the spin just as much check out their article on their upgrade and you will find they say the same thing. As it goes my parents had bigpond cable and as is mentioned the more people you get using it the slower it goes, the same can be said for people currently on optus cable.
    anonymous
  • open eyes

    open your eyes those of you who are blinded by your hatred of Telstra. Maybe this is what Krudd and Conroy had planned all along, threaten all of this and just sit back and watch the response. Great way to get investment and to honour your election spin without actually having to do anything.
    anonymous
  • Stop... now... please

    Again Vasso, Just like in the Iphone article.

    You are grabbing snippets from stories that are not even remotley related.

    That article talks about the ETS legislation not the Telecommuications one.. I mean did you even read what you posted??

    "tradeable emissions permits would be regarded under the law as a private property right.
    "

    The two bits of legislation are so dramatically diffrent even trying to compare is laughable.

    While you are out scanning sites for snigle grabs of text that would help your unfounded rampage, did you happen to find the one where Conroy stated that the legislation is airtight? or did you miss that one..

    I would take the time to find it, but I really dont see the point. go back to your Telstra fan boi site... wait....
    anonymous
  • Rudd and Conroy Are Intellectectually And Morally Bankrupt FAILURE'S

    Rubbish. Telstra had intended to upgrade bandwidth 4 YEARS AGO to 65% of population.

    Telstra upgrading Next G to 21 Mb/s to 98% of the population . . . . .
    and HFC to 100 mb/s . . . . . .
    while ADSL 2+ already available is taken up by less than 5% of the people who have access to it . . . . .
    IS NOT IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM credit to the stageringly stupid and morally bankrupt Conroy and Rudd.
    anonymous
  • Jim, with due respect................

    Did you read my preamble... "A timely precedent on the other Rudd's folly"

    Nota Bene:

    ......."the constitution requires the Government to provide compensation on ''just terms'' when it alters the value of private property"..... this is common law, applicable to any private property.
    anonymous
  • Open eyes

    Krudd & Conroy Clayton NBN.

    Have an NBN , when you don't have one
    anonymous
  • 4 years ago??

    why didn't they do it then? why now? Again, the truth is, Telstra's scared SH*TLESS.
    anonymous
  • Too little, too little

    Never mind the too late, the cable networks have such small footprints that it hardly makes this newsworthy. Unless you live in a profitable street in five state capitals or Canberra then you simply cannot get cable Internet. I'll add that cable is not the value for money that it once was. Telstra blocks mail ports on cable, so you can't run your own mail server and Optus is infamous for blocking any sort of server on their connections. TransACT's prices are a joke and download limits on all three are laughable. If you were to download continually for enough time to reach the average download limit then you'd blow it in a few days.

    Don't think for a minute that any of these companies are douing you any favours. They just want a faster way to suck wads of cash out of your pocket and this is the perfect way to do it.
    anonymous