DSL over fibre a no-goer: Telecom

Chris Bishop had a problem. He wanted to upgrade from his dial-up connection to a Telecom JetStream so he could take advantage of high-speed, always-on internet connectivity.

Chris Bishop had a problem. He wanted to upgrade from his dial-up connection to a Telecom JetStream so he could take advantage of high-speed, always-on internet connectivity.

Sadly, Telecom said he couldn’t connect because his link to the exchange contained fibre optics and that meant he was stuck with a dial-up connection. The irony of the situation wasn’t lost on Bishop, who wrote a letter to the editor of PC World.

“Having a new technology, high-speed fibre optic link means one is stuck with older technology”.

Martin Freeth, Telecom’s public affairs manager, says the problem is with the fibre link and that as Telecom upgrades its network this problem should be resolved, although it could be more appropriate to use a different technology, such as wireless, depending on the situation.

“Some areas, such as Albany, are trialing other technologies. As time goes on there will be other technologies and we’ve got CDMA coming soon which should offer some alternatives as well.” CDMA is the high-speed cellular platform that Telecom Mobile will introduce in July. A faster version will be released towards the end of the year.

“One technology will leapfrog another and it could be that people in this sort of position end up ahead of the others because of it.”

The problem Bishop is experiencing isn’t uncommon around the world, says DSL manufacturer Alcatel’s DSL business development manager David Clarke.

“Once we all lived close enough to the exchange that they simply ran a copper line out to your house. That’s just not possible any more and about 10 to 15 years ago carriers around the world started using slave units to extend the reach.” Clarke says many of these slaves made use of fibre optics but it was at a very basic level.

“If they were installed more than 10 years ago it’s likely they can only cope with voice. If they were five to 10 years old they could be ISDN capable and could be upgraded to cope with DSL. If they’re younger than that they might just need a card to be DSL enabled.”

In the meantime, Bishop has to make do with his dial-up connection or look elsewhere for higher speeds.

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