Broadband take-up "lifts off"

Telstra has declared Australia is past the early adapter phase of broadband and will move into a generation of users driven by value-added content and applications.

"We're now at the point where users appreciate the ‘always-on' connection. This is now rivalling the speed issue and we expect this to take broadband to the next stage," Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski said.

Commenting on its broadband subscribers at a press briefing in Sydney on 29 July, Switkowski took the opportunity to assure the market that Telstra was on track to reach one million broadband subscribers by 2005. The telco also expects revenue from its broadband services to hit the $1 billion mark in 2006, he said.

"We're comfortable with the level of interest in our broadband products and services. In terms of broadband take-up, we have lift-off," he said.

The CEO's comments follow Telstra's announcement that it will implement the Sun J2EE applications platform across its network to initiate an open standards environment for developers creating new content and services.

Telstra retail group managing director Ted Pretty says both the J2EE platform and Microsoft's .NET standard will be used by Telstra to support interoperability of applications and services across all of its communication networks. The decision will stimulate content and applications development and drive the next generation of broadband growth in Australia, he said.

Telstra currently has 175,000 broadband customers signed up to its services. Approximately 95,000 of Telstra's existing broadband customers use ADSL, while 70,000 are cable users.

25,000 of its total broadband customers are connected via Telstra's wholesale customers. Pretty says the rate of customers signed up to Telstra's network via its wholesalers will continue to rise, reaching 35 per cent by 2005 and over 40 per cent by 2010.

Pretty said while the increase in broadband customers was positive, growth of self installation customers will be a critical factor in accelerating broadband take-up.

Already, the amount of users opting to install the ADSL service themselves is approaching 42 per cent of all ADSL installations, well ahead of internal targets, he said. Pretty predicts up to 60 per cent of new subscribers will have self-installed the service by 2005. Telstra will also be introducing a new cable self-install package into the market shortly.

Meanwhile, rival ISP OzEmail has rolled out its ADSL broadband offering in South Australia, and has plans to activate services in the ACT and Northern Territory this week.

CEO Justin Milne says the popularity of its OzEdsl service has allowed the ISP to expand its broadband services in Australia much earlier than anticipated.

OzEmail expects to have the ADSL service available in Queensland by early August.

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