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Tassie fibre broadband trial to start November

Around 1250 buildings in Tasmanian cities Hobart and Devonport will have 100Mbps fibre broadband piped to their front door in a two-year trial due to start late November. The trial -- dubbed the Tasmanian Collaborative Optical Leading Testbed (TasCOLT) and initially announced back in January -- is similar to a trial of broadband over powerline technology in Tasmania announced several weeks ago in that it is being carried out by a partnership between government and private industry.

Around 1250 buildings in Tasmanian cities Hobart and Devonport will have 100Mbps fibre broadband piped to their front door in a two-year trial due to start late November.

The trial -- dubbed the Tasmanian Collaborative Optical Leading Testbed (TasCOLT) and initially announced back in January -- is similar to a trial of broadband over powerline technology in Tasmania announced several weeks ago in that it is being carried out by a partnership between government and private industry.

In TasCOLT's case, the main partners are the Tasmanian Department of Economic Development, government-owned electricity utility Aurora Energy, and Tastel (itself a partnership between Aurora, AAPT and renewable energy business Hydro Tasmania).

"The project resulted from a study commissioned by the Tasmanian Government in August 2003 and carried out by the Tasmanian Electronic Commerce Centre Pty Ltd ( TECC)," stated the project's Web site. "TasCOLT has been designed to explore ways to accelerate the development of high capacity communication infrastructure in Tasmania."

The Web site mentioned local fibre to the home specialist CEOS was also involved in developing the TasCOLT proposal.

The Tasmanian government is providing a grant of AU$3 million to part fund the equipment and project management expertise required to operate the trial, which will cost a total of AU$10 million, according to the project's Web site.

Other partners who are dubbed as "investing in the project" include Hitachi, Intel, Cisco, Acer, IT product development agency Protocol Information Technology and fibre-optic manufacturers Corning and Senko.

According to a statement by Lara Giddings, Tasmania's Minister for Economic Development, the trial will go live to around 850 houses in New Town and 200 in South Hobart (both suburbs in Hobart) in late November or early December this year, while an additional 200 in Devonport will go live in early next year.

"Property owners will be notified by local councils about the trial through the development approval process," said Giddings.

"Residents and businesses that want to participate would be connected via the existing Aurora power poles."

Giddings said the cost to residents had yet to be determined but would be "very competitive".