The launch of a commercial trial of a new
optical fibre to the home (FTTH) service in Tasmania is likely to
take place in the closing months of this year, some 12 months
after an initial date specified by the state's government.
Dubbed the Tasmanian
Collaborative Optical Leading Testbed (TasCOLT), the trial is
a partnership between government and industry that will see
broadband at speeds of up to 100Mbps provided to 1,000 addresses
Tasmania's then Minister for Economic Development Lara
Giddings said in September a commercial launch would take place in
late November or early December last year. However some parties
have said the trial
has suffered initial delays, and local FTTH specialist CEOS
said yesterday that time frame was not realistic.
"It's going to be around the sort of October time frame when
we have our first trial customers," the company's managing
director Jonathan Spring said in a telephone interview with
ZDNet Australia. CEOS is leading the TasCOLT
"It'll be towards December when we'll be turning on commercial
services," the executive added.
While a spokesperson for the state government didn't respond
to a request for comment by the time of publication, Spring said
this time frame was normal and even speedy compared with similar
"The thing to consider is when you look at the United States,
the municipal deployments, when you look in Japan at their major
deployments, they would typically spend in the sort of two
years-plus timeframes in the planning phase," he said.
Spring said in the short time since the TasCOLT project kicked
off, a lot of work had been undertaken on issues such as
organising connections with other service providers and designing
"So the project officially started the middle of last year. It
hasn't yet been one year. So in the single year that the
project's been under way officially, basically all the issues
have been resolved," he said.
"Over the next three months the network will be deployed, and
then the following three months thereafter, services will be
turned up step by step, so by international standards, it's a
really short time frame."
"I know that there are expectations and a lot of excitement
around the nation about deploying this, but when it's deployed it
will be successful, because all the issues have been covered,"
While another TasCOLT partner, the Tasmanian Electronic
Commerce Centre (TECC), claimed in November some delays had been
caused by local council bureaucracy, Spring denied the
"Devonport and Hobart councils were both very enthusiastic
about the project," he said. "The councils were proactive, worked
closely with our consortium, helped us engage with the community,
we put together planning documents which they approved."
Despite the perceived delays, Spring was overwhelmingly
positive about the project he believes could be a test case for
other Australian FTTH developments.
"It's a really exciting project," he said, praising efforts by
the project's many partners. Those include the Tasmanian state
government, Internet service provider TasTel, electricity utility
Aurora Energy, CEOS itself, TECC, IT product development agency
Protocol Information Technology, in addition to vendors Hitachi,
Corning, Intel, Senko, Cisco and Acer.
TasTel is a partnership between Aurora, telco AAPT and
renewable energy business Hydro Tasmania that also retails
services for a Tasmanian broadband over power line trial
currently being run by Aurora.