Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Telstra gears up HFC against the NBN

Telstra is launching the roll-out of DOCSIS 3.0 on its five city HFC network. They are targeting 100 Mb/s to 1m homes in Melbourne by Christmas and claim it is upgradeable to 200 Mb/s. Total spend in 2009: AUD 300m.

Some remarks:
  • Apparently, this is the way forward for Telstra competing the NBN, which will have a winner by the end of the month. Looks like Telstra is definitely not going to be it. And if it will get involved after all, horizontal separation (spinning off of BigPond) should be next.
  • Let's not forget about the inherent limitations of HFC networks: highly asymmetrical (limited upstream spectrum and no gear available); unbundling is ruled out (from a technical perspective); not quite as much bandwidth (compared to FTTH), to be shared by quite a few more homes (compared to FTTH).
  • The HFC network and the future NBN (FTTN + VDSL) will be on a par, especially since a VDSL-network is tough to unbundle too (but from an economic perspective). However, the next logical step (FTTH) is pushed into the distant future by this development (unless Axia or Acacia wins the NBN tender). That will not be good for Australia on , say, a 5 year timeframe.
  • Interesting: "... infrastructure that complements our world-leading Next G mobile broadband network." (Not the other way around.)
  • No vendors mentioned (Cisco? Motorola?).

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