commentary Telstra's new national Next G wireless network is one of the most
exciting developments in the Australian telecommunications scene
this year. But it's just a sideshow.
The real game is clearly in the next generation of fixed
"While Telstra has been saying 'we are listening to our
customers', I haven't heard any of them asking for yet another
mobile network. Instead they are not asking, but screaming, for
better fixed broadband services."
This has been your writer's experience also, in ZDNet
Australia's particular area of business technology.
Yes, ever-greater numbers of business customers are demanding
mobility services. The popularity of the Blackberry, in addition
to the ongoing migration of apps like Siebel and SAP onto
smartphones bears witness to that trend.
However a far greater concern from businesses is that in many
locations basic fixed broadband services are not available.
For example, according to recent research conducted in South
Australia, approximately one-third of businesses located in two
of Adelaide's largest council districts, Onkaparinga and Marion,
would like broadband but just can't buy it.
Now Telstra is clearly aware of this fact.
Despite all the noise on Friday about how Next G would
eventually provide for all of the nation's broadband needs,
Telstra is quietly working behind the scenes on better fixed
On Friday, both Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo and BigPond chieftain
Justin Milne mentioned an upgrade to Telstra's existing HFC cable
Milne later told APC magazine Telstra was working to
improve the backhaul and speed of various routers in that
network, in addition to getting access to more multi-dweller
units such as apartment blocks, which have historically proven
But that's not all.
The Australian newspaper reported this week that
Telstra was finally planning to launch ADSL2+ services on the
back of the hardware the telco has had in its network for some
Telstra currently only offers 1.5Mbps ADSL services, but
ADSL2+ will allow speeds of up to 24Mbps. The move will finally
bring Telstra up to speed with rivals like Optus, Internode and
iiNet that have been selling ADSL2+ for, in some cases, more than
In the top-end enterprise space, Telstra's awareness of the
demand for fixed services is also evident.
On Friday, the group managing director of Telstra's enterprise
and government division, David Thodey, spent some of his own
presentation talking up the Next G wireless network.
However he quickly moved on to discussing the ongoing
migration of enterprise customers to Internet Protocol-based
networking (IP), and away from legacy technologies like frame
"We're already seeing 38 percent growth in that core IP
revenue, and that is putting an incredible amount of opportunity
and also stress and strain on the business, because you're
transitioning customers," said Thodey.
"Remember, these data networks are the lifeblood of
corporations," he added.
In other words, the meat and bread of Thodey's business is
still in being able to deliver stable and fast fixed
Businesses can expect to see Telstra hyping up Next G in the
next few months. But don't forget to keep your eye on the fixed
How important will Telstra's Next G network prove
to the broadband-starved nation? A drop of water in a drought or
a tsunami? Drop me a line directly at email@example.com or post your opinion in the talkback field below.