update The construction of Internet service provider TPG Internet's ADSL2+ broadband network is behind schedule, the company revealed today.
In December last year the ISP promised customers it would have its ADSL hardware in 250 telephone exchanges nationwide by the end of 2006, with the first 120 exchanges due for completion by March or April.
But today that schedule was dramatically pushed back.
In an e-mailed statement, TPG said its network currently reached only
88 exchanges, with a further 17 planned by the end of August. Targeted areas include Sydney, Melbourne, the Australian Capital Territory, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
"By the end of 2006 there will be over 140 active DSLAMs across the five cities," the statement said.
According to TPG's chief financial officer Alan Latimer, the timing of the network rollout mainly depended on the availability of access to telephone exchanges.
Such access is controlled by Telstra. Several rivals have publicly complained that the heavyweight does not allow sufficient rival access to its exchanges, with Optus making its issues publicly known just last week.
In an e-mail to ZDNet Australia, Latimer said his company currently had some 130,000 broadband customers, with around 20,000 of those having been migrated onto TPG's own ADSL2+ network.
That net will eventually cover more than half of those 120,000 customers, Latimer said.
The network allows TPG to offer broadband speeds of up to 24Mbps.
Most ISPs simply resell services from Telstra's network, which are limited to 1.5Mbps.
Like Optus and PowerTel, TPG is using exchange hardware (known as DSL Access Multiplexers or DSLAMs) from Chinese vendor Huawei in exchanges.
But although PowerTel has backed away from the supplier following technical problems, Latimer praised Huawei.
"Their product performance and service has been very good," he said.
TPG will also offer a symmetric broadband service (SHDSL) targeted at businesses that will boost upload speeds to 4Mbps, while decreasing download rates to the same speed.
"SHDSL services are just commencing and the interest from business is great," said Latimer.
The progress of TPG's rollout can be monitored on the company's Web site.
The news comes as rival ISP Internode said in a statement today it would increase the coverage of its free Wi-Fi network in Adelaide to 140 hotspots by the end of June 2007. The move is in partnership with Adelaide City Council.