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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Monday, April 05, 2004


Australia: Incumbent Telstra getting serious about FTTH as it deals with copper deterioration

An interesting article on Australian incumbent Telstra's fibre initiatives and copper problems:
March 30 -- "Telstra will work with property developers on a major trial of fibre-to-the-home technology to be unveiled in Brisbane by chief executive Ziggy Switkowski next week. The telco is also moving to replace and bypass technology that limits the delivery of high-speed internet services, as concerns grow over its copper network. Telstra Countrywide chief Doug Campbell said: 'The programs we have in mind are greenfield locations and high-rise, multi-dwelling units ... Over the next two-to-three years all new estates will be candidates for fibre to the premises,' he said ..."

"Other problems loom on Telstra's copper network. In 2002, Telstra had a nationwide problem with a cable gel sealant used to protect joints in its network from weather damage. But in humid and moist conditions the gel was found to corrode the joints instead of protecting them. Two years later the gel continues to cause problems. During the recent Queensland floods fault rates on gel-sealed joints rose to 5 per cent, a Telstra spokesman said yesterday. 'We continue to replace that gel as we proceed with regular maintenance,' Mr Campbell said."

"Telstra's copper network came under the microscope following the tabling of a leaked internal document in federal parliament last month, which included the damaging statement: 'Fault rate growth appears to be due to general network deterioration rather than a specific exceptional cause.' Telstra management had previously insisted that one-off weather events caused rising faults rates. Telstra infrastructure services group managing director Mick Rocca admitted the company's network was ageing. He likened the pattern of network faults to a "sine wave" with faults rising during bad weather and falling during dry spells as backlogs of faults were fixed. But the document shows that at each dip in fault rates, faults remained slightly higher than the previous dip."


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