Telstra's much heralded FTTH solution "Velocity" seems to be hitting a few snags lately. Beside the previously reported problems on the Gold Coast with their older BPON technology, their newer GPON technology has not yet been deployed anywhere and they are no longer deploying the BPON in new estates.

Several developers who have signed with Telstra for the Fibre based Velocity are finding residents moving into a brand new "Smart Home" with a standard copper connection. The problem with this is the copper cannot deliver the promised free to air and pay television signals, thus people are having to put up antenna's and satellite dishes. Sort of defeats one of the benefits of fibre, having a clean roof policy.

Rumour has it (from a source inside Telstra) that the new Alcatel GPON solution is not yet fully type tested with their voice network. The older BPON solution was based on ATM and used V5.2 (TDM) interconnects for the voice (the same as the old ASAM technology used in the FTTN nodes). The new GPON solution is not ATM based and must use a packet technology (such as SIP) to transport its voice.

An estate near me - Heron Park - is a "Smart Community" and proudly boasts Telstra Velocity on its brochures and signs, but the first 5 homes are without service. In fact there is not even any copper cable installed in the ducts and the homes have been pre terminated with a standard Telstra copper NTD box.

Today I visited a Telstra Smart Community called Brighton in Western Australia - 10,000 homes. This was previously an E-Wire/BES estate, but was taken over by Telstra with the signing of a deal with Satterley. There are now approximately 50 homes in the new stage of Brighton (The Green) waiting for a Telstra Velocity connection.

One affected resident recently contacted me about his issues with the lack of service. He said this in response to questions regarding his phone service, "They offered me an interim service straight away. When the courier delivered it he told me he had delivered 18 that same day in our area". He further added "The wife hates it though as it's a clunky old T400 with a great big lead to a wireless sticker patch that goes on the window...the reception isn't that great, kind of like a bad mobile". When asked about what other interim services had been offering (such as Broadband or TV), his response was "no offer of anything other than the interim phone from Telstra. The developer Satterley don't want to know about it; I did ask about a temporary antenna and they told me I would have to pay for it myself. They gave me a number for of a guy who is doing most of the internal work who is charging a set fee $550 to put in the three points. The antenna was additional". He did add he had "received a $100 voucher for the set top box which can be used at [various stores]"

Great idea to launch a product without the technology ready. This is extremely unusual for Telstra who normally do an enormous amount of type testing before a product launch. Perhaps it had to do with their expectation of the NBN and any deal they sign before new legislation comes in mandating Open Access is protected.


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