DSLAM rollouts risky: Netspace

Internet service provider Netspace won't yet commit to expanding its ADSL2+ network past Melbourne due to the instability of the fledgling broadband industry. The ISP today said it had completed an initial rollout of ADSL2+ broadband infrastructure in Melbourne, a project reported by ZDNet Australia in early January.

Internet service provider Netspace won't yet commit to expanding its ADSL2+ network past Melbourne due to the instability of the fledgling broadband industry.

The ISP today said it had completed an initial rollout of ADSL2+ broadband infrastructure in Melbourne, a project reported by ZDNet Australia in early January.

But Netspace managing director Stuart Marburg said his company would not immediately follow competitors like iiNet, Internode and Optus in undertaking a large-scale hardware rollout.

"We have watched with interest the major capital investments in infrastructure rollout made by other operators within the industry," he said in a statement.

"However, whilst we applaud any moves that increases the level of real competition within our industry ... the deployment of such infrastructure does not provide any true level of autonomy or real independence to its owners in supplying services to end customers."

The comment is a slap in the face not only to primarily consumer-level telcos like iiNet and Internode, but also business-grade players like Macquarie Telecom, all of which have spend millions of dollars in recent years on their infrastructure.

Marburg cited the current fractious debate over the cost of access to Telstra's copper lines running to customers' premises -- known as the Unbundled or Unconditioned Local Loop or ULL -- as an example of industry uncertainty.

Despite rolling out ADSL hardware into Telstra's exchanges, telcos still need to rent that copper from Telstra to provide some services to customers.

"We are also cognisant of the fact that the future of the industry is still likely to be dominated by one or two major players, and that moves made by these few companies have the ability to make any such infrastructure deployment almost irrelevant over a very short space of time," Marburg said.

The managing director said customers didn't care whether telcos provided services through wholesale arrangements or by building their own infrastructure.

"As long as it is affordable and delivers the speed and performance that they requested," he said.

Several telcos such as Commander and People Telecom have recently signed large wholesale broadband deals with infrastructure-owners like Powertel and NEC's NEXTEP division.