[ExI] broadband in Oz
thespike at satx.rr.com
Thu Jan 1 20:38:01 UTC 2009
...broadband penetration is proceeding at high speed in Australia. By
mid-2007 there were close to 4.5 million subscribers [pop. circa 20
million]. In the residential market this means a broadband
penetration of close to 64% in Internet households (46% of total
households). In the business market, this figure is over 80%.
While the penetration of broadband in Australia is catching up with
its trading partners it is still lagging behind in the quality of
broadband provided by the operators, and in the price customers have
to pay. The majority of customers are still on services that provide
only 256Kb/s or 512Kb/s. Telstra, however, does make an 8Mb/s
available, but this is not a guaranteed speed, only a best-effort service.
Telstra's competitors are leading the market in the higher speed
ADSL2+ services market. The regulator has finally been able to force
better unbundled local loop and spectrum-sharing wholesale services
into the market, and affordable true-broadband services are now
available. Telstra is only making ADSL2+ available in those exchanges
where its competitors have installed their own DSLAMs, so it is being
a follower rather than a leader in new and innovative broadband
services, a fact that is hampering a more rapid deployment of this
Broadband infrastructure is essential for the social and economic
development of the country and both the current Government and the
Opposition have broadband policies in place, aimed at ensuring that
regional and other fringe areas will receive services that are
equivalent to those available in the more economically viable
metropolitan areas of the country.
However, before any further plans are developed the government will
have to establish the right regulatory environment. It would be
foolish to allow for the overbuilding of infrastructure; a far better
option would be to ensure the sharing of infrastructure.
For this to happen, the government will need to act upon its
operational separation legislation, which was passed in Parliament
back in 2005. Only when this is sorted out can responsible investment
decisions be made and responsible government funding be put in place.
As we have seen in other countries, this will enable more companies
to enter the facilities-based market (even in regional markets) in
addition to entering the services market.
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