iiNet rolls out national DSL infrastructure

Perth-based ISP, iiNet, has announced it will roll-out its own DSL infrastructure nationally to provide residential subscribers with broadband services of up to 8Mbps. The ISP is the latest in a string of service providers attempting to escape Telstra’s grasp over ADSL services across the country by investing in independent DSL infrastructure.

According to iiNet, the roll-out follows a three-month customer pilot and study into the feasibility of maintaining its own broadband infrastructure. The roll-out will initially involve placing DSLAMs into 32 exchanges covering 11,000 ADSL connections across Australia.

The ISP has chosen to base its broadband infrastructure on Ericsson’s Ethernet DSL Access solution, involving the use of the vendor’s micro IP-based DSLAMs.

The infrastructure will allow iiNet to replace some of the DSL capacity it currently sources from its wholesale telco provider, Telstra.

The initial infrastructure roll-out was expected to cost $2.3 million and would be commissioned by October, the company said.

A second deployment is then expected to occur by the year’s end.

iiNet managing director, Michael Malone, said the decision to invest in its own broadband infrastructure followed the ISP’s earlier success with maintaining its own dial-up infrastructure.

He said iiNet would also look at initiating in its own telephony infrastructure in the future.

iiNet is one of many ISPs now investigating the viability of deploying its own broadband infrastructure in exchanges around the country.

In May, Netspace also revealed it was considering investing in DSLAMs to escape the cost of buying capacity on Telstra-owned DSL equipment.

Last year, Agile Communications, the sister company of ISP Internode, also began rolling out its own broadband infrastructure in a bid to provide regional and rural communities with access to DSL services.

Agile, which initially deployed DSLAMs in select regional communities across South Australia, recently announced it would also be trialling its DSLAM equipment in two exchanges in Perth.

Like iiNet, Agile has employed Ericsson’s IP-based micro DSLAMs as part of its DSL infrastructure.

Ericsson director of marketing and business development in Australia and New Zealand, Tony Malligeorgos, said wholesale pricing for DSL services were becoming increasingly competitive.

As a result, ISPs were moving towards investing in their own infrastructure.

“There is a strong business case for ISPs to build their own infrastructure,” he said.

Internode managing director Simon Hackett said there were financial benefits in establishing independent DSL infrastructure to Telstra.

“Telstra access costs and exchange access regimes are so expensive and restrictive that it’s essentially a process where we’ll be close to breaking even,” he said. “[This] compares to engaging Telstra Wholesale ADSL access, or where we may actually wind up paying more in many cases.”

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