Ballarat to trial new broadband technology

The Victorian town of Ballarat will trial a new type of broadband technology early next year that promises to be 200 times faster than existing broadband.

On Wednesday, Victorian optical communications company CEOS Pty Ltd and Hitachi announced a partnership to deploy Passive Optical Network (PON) technology in Australia.

"The partnership sees Hitachi gain access to intellectual property that has been built up here in Victoria, while CEOS gains access to the technology, manufacturing facilities and marketing capabilities of a major global company," said CEOS managing director, Dr Jonathan Spring.

The fibre optic technology can provide data transfer speeds of 100Mbps through a residential gateway (compared to ADSL's 1/2Mbps), said Dr Spring.

"PON takes one fibre from the exchange and splits it, which reduces the operating cost for fibre optic access to homes," he said.

"Also, our quality of service is guaranteed."

The PON technology is currently being rolled out to 1000 users in the Ballarat-based Collaborative Optical Leading Testbed (COLT) facility. COLT has had $4 million in funding from the Victorian Government.

Dr Spring said the aim of COLTS was to provide services like video on demand and VoIP, as well as telemedicine.

Access to the technology requires potential users to have a PON installed in their area.

"How you deploy is the problem with fibre optic networks, so we're looking at greenfield opportunities, new housing estates, business parks, etc.," said Dr Spring.

"It's a question of can you provide a case for deployment, is there the aggregate demand of the community," he said.

Dr Spring said Hitachi has deployed PON in about 200,000 homes in Japan.

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