Upgrading HFC is not the answer to Australia's broadband
"Upgrading HFC is not the answer to Australia's broadband
future as it will only ever benefit selected areas in major capital
cities and not 98 per cent of the population," a spokesperson for
the company said in a statement. "The fact is, only a very low
percentage of customers at best will ever experience the claimed
speeds of 100Mbps."
Telstra yesterday issued what appeared to be a veiled challenge to Optus to
upgrade its own HFC cable footprint to 100Mbps.
"The great news is that there's an alternative infrastructure
out there, and it's owned by our competitor. There are no restrictions
on anybody doing the same thing that we're choosing to do," outgoing Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo
said when announcing the upgrade plans. "This could be a nice wake-up call to some others to say 'we're
going to do the same', much like what happened with wireless."
Optus said only that it had been trialling the technology to upgrade
its HFC cable amongst other technologies for faster broadband, but there had
been no firm decision as yet.
Optus is one of the bidders for the government's $4.7 billion
National Broadband Network, which is slated to reach 98 per cent of
the population. Fibre to the node technology is believed to form the basis of most bids to build the NBN.
Telstra had still not provided any "real" answer for rural and
regional areas, according to Optus.
Yesterday at Telstra's briefing, when asked whether the company had plans to
extend the HFC cable out to the millions of Australians who had
fixed line connections, outgoing CEO Sol Trujillo said it was
obvious the company wouldn't do all of them with HFC, although the company might extend
the footprint a little, depending on demand. A technology mix
was needed to provide the service customers wanted, he said,
including Next G and the Telstra ADSL2+ network.
The speeds on HFC would vary, Optus said, since the network was
shared, meaning that the more users on the HFC network the slower the
speeds. Telstra's group managing director, networks and services,
Michael Rocca put the average speeds on the network at
Optus also believed the upgrade, which would require each home
to be individually wired up to the HFC, would be an inconvenient
process for most customers, and potentially also an expensive one
if they wanted to achieve the higher speeds, since they would have
to upgrade their modems.
Telstra has not yet decided on how or whether it will charge
for customer premises equipment. There were many possibilities
including the subsidisation method used by Vodafone for notebooks,
according to Trujillo.