Forget LLU, FTTP is where excitement is

Telecom might be unwilling to let competitors provide unique services over the last mile of its phone network but up-and-coming telco Wired Country is not being so unwelcoming.

Telecom might be unwilling to let competitors provide unique services over the last mile of its phone network but up-and-coming telco Wired Country is not being so unwelcoming.

The division of Pukekohe-based Counties Power has laid about 100km of optical fibre in the town and surrounds and is saying anyone can run services over it.

“We’re quite happy for Telecom or anyone else to use it,” says Wired Country general manager Mike Lancaster.

Wired Country has done deals with a handful of ISPs for internet access and two companies — WorldxChange and Ihug — for provision of phone services over the fibre.

Lancaster says the network runs past 400 homes in four new Pukekohe subdivisions, and 600 businesses in the town, about 100 of which are using it for internet access.

Phone services, which he expects to be “feature-rich” and cost in the low- to mid-$30 a month vicinity, are near to readiness, he says.

“We’ve had a 100% takeup from residents whose homes are complete.”

Those that don’t want Wired Country’s services look likely to be able to stick with Telecom. Lancaster says the telco is laying copper wire in the same streets Wired Country has already laid fibre.

“What’s the point of putting copper in — it’s limited in what you can do with it, it corrodes.” In contrast, fibre “is a neat medium”, Lancaster says.

In addition to internet access (at up to 100Mbit/s) and the promised phone services, Lancaster says Wired Country is also working toward delivery of multichannel TV signals via fibre.

The company’s moves have caught the attention of people throughout the country, according to Lancaster, to the degree that it’s considering establishing points of presence outside the Pukekohe district. “At the moment we can’t effectively get traffic back to a central point of interconnect,” he says.

  • For potential end users of the fibre, Wired Country installs a small connector box at a cost of $70. Network equipment is provided by US company World Wide Packets. As Wired Country deploys its fibre, fibre to the premises (FTTP) is exciting attention in the US. FTTP offers better performance and greater speed than the DSL services Telecom is able to provide over its copper last-mile network, making it suitable for applications such as PC backup, telecommuting and high-definition videoconferencing. FTTP relies on passive optical network (PON) technology to bring high-speed fibre optic all the way to a remote office, small business or home. It’s an extension of the optical fibre that is already finding its way into carriers’ long-haul infrastructures. But in the US, Gartner predicts that FTTP deployments of any significance will not materialise before 2010.

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