Telstra advocates fibre to the home

Telstra has confirmed it will commence a commercial pilot of a new fibre to the premise (FTTP) solution in Queensland in June.

Officially launched by Telstra managing director Dr Ziggy Switkowski and Queensland premier Peter Beattie on Tuesday, the trial will take place at the new housing development site Brookwater Estate which is located in Greater Springfield -- 26 kilometres from Brisbane's CBD.

FTTP, also known as fibre to the home (FTTH), is an access technology which uses optical fibre infrastructure to deliver telephony, television and data services straight to the customer’s premises. The technology paves the way for the launch of a range of next generation high-speed services, such as high-definition TV, faster music and video streaming and video on demand.

Data speeds offered under the trial are expected to replicate ADSL access speeds. A Telstra spokesperson said higher download speeds will be considered "down the track".

Telstra was unable to provide information on the specific types of content being offered until the trial. However, TV services are expected to include Foxtel.

The FTTP trials are being conducted by Telstra in association with the Springfield Land Corporation/Medallist Developments joint venture and Nifsan Pty Ltd.

As part of the agreement, Switkowski said Telstra will also be conducting a pilot of FTTP at the new multi-dwelling Emerald Lakes estate on the Gold Coast from September.

The Telstra spokesperson said the FTTP trial service will be available to 280 units within Brookwater Estate, and 65 at the Emerald Lakes estate.

"Piloting FTTP technology is part of our commitment to deliver the next-generation access infrastructure and communications services to Australia. It positions Telstra well for the future, providing a potential growth path to higher bandwidth Internet and entertainment services,” Switkowski said.

"Subject to the outcome of the pilot, it is anticipated that FTTP technology will progressively become Telstra's standard infrastructure for most new estates and significant multi-dwelling unit developments over the next four to seven years.”

Hardware for the Telstra-Brookwater FTTP trial is being provided by Alcatel.

Alcatel spokesperson Liza Noonan said the Brookwater Estate trial was the only FTTP trial the vendor was able to announce with Telstra at this stage. Alcatel had been working with Telstra on lab trials of the FTTP technology since June 2003, she said.

Telstra is not the first telco to take an interest in providing broadband access to the home via an optical fibre platform. A trial of FTTH technology was also instigated by Western Power subsidiary Bright Telecommunications using Ericsson’s FTTH technology in South Perth last June.

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