Telecom is believed to have chosen Nokia as the main supplier of equipment for its commercial asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) service.
Computerworld understands that Telecom could start rolling out a commercial ADSL service as early as the end of this year. Telecom has been trialling the technology, which provides high-speed data and voice transfer over the copper telephone lines since last October. The other equipment suppliers vying for the contract were Alcatel, NEC and Open Tel.com, a division of New Zealand company Open Networks. The chosen vendor, Nokia, is also providing Telecom Finland with switching and access equipment with ADSL capability.
About 180 households in the Wellington suburbs of Khandallah and Ngaio have taken part in Telecom's trial, getting high-speed Internet connections and a video service. Although ADSL promises speeds of up to 6Mbit/s, trialists have told Computerworld that in reality it is somewhat slower — from 40Kbit/s to 190Kbit/s. Telecom confirmed that the Internet part of the trial was restricted to 640Kbit/s.
In order to get a more consistent delivery rate, Telecom is separately trialling rate-adaptive ADSL (RADSL) technology and has installed RADSL chipsets from Aware into modems in 20 Wellington homes and at the exchange level also. (Aware has signed licences with several major PC manufacturers in a deal that would make ADSL modems an option on new PCs by the end of this year.) RADSL equipment monitors the network and can adjust data rates depending on line conditions. DSL transmission can be affected by physical conditions such as heat, moisture and the age of the copper. Telecom is planning to spend $35 million upgrading its network, with the bulk of the spend going to Auckland.