Telecom says it intends to stick with DSL for delivering IP services, despite a large-scale fibre to roadside cabinets rollout which opens up the possibility of fibre all the way to customer premises.
Over the next eight years, Telecom intends to decommission some 600 local exchanges and replace them with larger ones connected through Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) routers. Large capacity fibre-optic circuits will go from the exchanges directly to the roadside cabinets.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) however does not run over fibre-optic, as it requires copper wire for the modulated high-frequency signal.
Asked if this wouldn’t create problems delivering UBS, and if Telecom was planning on introducing fibre to the home for bandwidth-demanding services like video over IP, Telecom’s general manager of network investment Stephen Crombie says “the fibre we are talking about is to the kerb, or roadside cabinets. UBS is delivered over copper after that point.
The deployment of fibre-optic circuits to roadside cabinets “does not change our Unbundled Bitstream Service (UBS) plans at all”, according to Crombie.
He added that “the fibre to the kerb gives us the capacity to provide DSL services such as UBS.”
However, Crombie said that “we are continuing review our options with fibre to the home, but see DSL technologies being our primary solution for the foreseeable future.” Crombie didn’t elaborate on the type of DSL technology Telecom intends to use for providing high-bitrate IP services.
Fibre broadband networks for residential and business customers are being rolled out in countries like Japan, where a 100Mbit/s connection can reportedly be had for around $NZ95.
Some New Zealand network operators are also getting in on the fibre game. Palmerston North company Inspired Networks is currently deploying a two kilometre fibre ring around the business district in the city in conjunction with local companies and bodies.
Inspired Networks is aiming for $100 per month for a 10Mbit/s connection, and $300 per month for a 100Mbit/s one with the non-profit fibre network. Internet data will be charged on top.
South Auckland network operator Wired Country also runs a fibre network, with 10 and 100 Mbit/s connections available.