Regulatory hiccup hits VDSL2 trial

Customers forced to wait for faster broadband service

Broadband customers hoping to speed up their connections through Telecom’s high-speed VDSL2 service face a longer wait, as the service was put on ice last month for an indeterminate period of time.

The reason for the delay is Telecom Wholesale’s insisting on the VDSL2 service being taken up by access seekers with POTS – Plain Old Telephone Service.

This has angered ISPs taking part in the VDSL2 trial, who wanted to provide data-only connections to customers; who in turn could use VoIP over EUBA backhaul links that are able to prioritise voice traffic for better telephony performance.

ISPs talking on condition of anonymity to Computerworld, citing non-disclosure agreements with Telecom, described the requirement to take POTS as a “major step backwards”. As a consequence, the ISPs have refused to sign agreements with Telecom Wholesale to continue with the soft launch of VDSL2.

Outgoing external communications manager at Telecom Wholesale, Nicole Walker, says “we made an internal decision to move to a soft launch for the ‘clothed’ variant [with POTS] of VDSL2, while we finalised details for the ‘naked’ service.”

Walker says that there will now be a ‘naked’ service without POTS offered as well, once the soft launch resumes, but she didn’t have a date for when it will happen.

According to Walker, the VDSL2 soft launch hold up is “not related in any way to the current Commerce Commission investigation of Unbundled Bitstream Access [UBA] and Sub Local Loop Extension Service [SLES].”

Telecom is being investigated by the Commerce Commission over alleged breaches of its legally binding undertakings, by charging different rates for access seekers and its retail division for UBA/SLES.

The chief executive officer of Snap Internet,which is currently preparing to launch a commercial VDSL2 service through Telecom Wholesale, Jamie Cairns, says his company “was concerned that having to rebundle those services would have forced us to go down a legacy path we didn’t want to enter”.

Cairns says he is otherwise impressed with the VDSL2 service, and believes it will be a great choice for small to medium businesses. “I am a kilometre and a half away from the cabinet, but still get 24Mbit/s down and 8Mbit/s up,” Cairns says.

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Tags vdsl2snap internetTelecom Wholesale

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