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(Image: Josh Taylor/ZDNet)
Super-fast 4G broadband is not a term that would be used all that often in a retirement home, but it is at the Rose Bay Towers retirement apartment block in Sydney this week, as Telstra and Ericsson set about switching on their 4G network there.
Telstra has set its sights on upgrading 1,000 base stations by the end of June to 4G, bringing the total number of sites with 4G connectivity to 2,000 — covering over 66 percent of the Australian population.
The company already has over 2.1 million 4G devices on its network across Australia.
While on the surface, it appears that the company is meeting its upgrade targets at a blistering speed — having only launched the network at the end of 2011 — months and years of work and planning goes into every single site upgrade.
As he took ZDNet up to the rooftop of the Rose Bay Towers retirement village, Geoff Piper, Telstra's project manager for New South Wales, said that the lead time for the 4G upgrades can run from six months to two years in length.
"On average, it is about six months. It depends on the site. Some you can do quite quickly if everything lines up, but in general, it is about a six-month process. If it is a new site, [it is] 18 months to two years."
In addition to getting all the antennas, radio, and network equipment for the upgrade, and ensuring that the site is ready and the crews available to do the upgrade, Telstra also needs to seek approval from the local council, which is often an arduous task in and of itself.
"We do a lot more community consultation nowadays than we used to," he said. "And that chews up a fair bit of time itself."