Telecom Wholesale 'soft-launches' VDSL2 fast broadband

Service is targeting speeds of 40Mbit/s downstream

Telecom Wholesale announced today that it is “soft-launching” its digital subscriber line-based fast broadband service.

VDSL2 will be run over copper phone lines connected to the recently deployed roadside cabinets and exchanges, after a technical trial.

The service was originally set to launch on August 30 this year, but Nicole Walker, external communications manager at Telecom Wholesale, says the telco is working to satisfy launch criteria and consulting heavily with service providers at the moment, and has no set date for commerical service offering to go live.

“We may launch at the end of the year, or push it out to January 2011,” Walker says.

VDSL2 will be available on some 35 per cent of the country’s phone lines, Walker says, going to 60 per cent next year. “This kills any other VDSL2 provider in the country,” Walker says.

Walker says the service is launching with “friendlies” and staffers initially, on a smaller scale. Walker says the VDSL2 service will come with quality guarantees. Customers will get their money back if they don’t reach 15Mbit/s downloads and 5Mbit/s uploads, Walker says.

Target speeds for the VDSL2 service are 40Mbit/s down and 8 to 10Mbit/s upstream speed, Walker says, and the initial service offering will feature standard phone service (POTS). Future VDSL2 service offerings may be available without POTS and be data only.

The average information rate for the best-effort full-speed VDSL2 service has been upped from 32kbit/s to 96kbit/s Walker says, and providers will use EUBA for the backhaul. To qualify for the service, the copper loop to the roadside cabinet and exchanges connecting customers will have to be no more than 700 metres, according to Walker.

Signal attenuation cannot be more than 10dB as part of the criteria to qualify for VDSL2 service, says Walker.

Telecom Wholesale has signed up service providers around the country to participate in the trial and “soft-launch”, but Walker declined to name these, saying it’s “commercially sensitive”.

Orcon chief executive Scott Bartlett says “no, we didn’t trial with Telecom” and the provider has “nothing to announce regarding VDSL2 at the moment”.

Vodafone’s head of corporate communications says the provider has trialled VDSL2 in the past over its unbundled local loop network in Auckland, and will continue to do so.

Pricing for the VDSL2 service is still being decided by the Commerce Commission which is preparing a final standards term decision after issuing a draft one, but is expected to be higher than for Telecom’s existing ADSL2+ service.

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