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NBN Connection Takeup And The ‘Real Solutions’ Broadband Statement

Here’s an article by Angus Kidman about the takeup of the National Broadband Network; how many connections have been made to the NBN versus how many are available, and it includes reporting on the Opposition’s new policy titled Real Solutions with reference to the NBN.

NBN Co has updated its internet connection figures for the National Broadband Network (NBN), revealing that as of December 2012 34,500 premises had been connected to actual NBN services. In the same week, the Federal Opposition has released its ‘Real Solutions’ policy document, which contains some details of its own plans for the future of broadband — a future where the NBN’s role is somewhat uncertain. Let’s try and make sense of the NBN data and the new Coalition claims.

The numbers are bound to trigger predictable rhetoric from NBN opponents along the lines of “we’ve wasted all this money and no-one wants it”, while making broadband enthusiasts who aren’t connected yet wonder what’s holding back all those people who could be on the network but aren’t. That’s the nature of NBN discussion. But what have we learned this week?

At the end of December 2012, 34,500 people had connected to the NBN. That number is up considerably from June 2012, when the figure was 13,600. The vast majority of those users to date (23,100) are on satellite, which has the advantage of being instantly available to qualified users if they install suitable receivers. By June 2013, NBN Co is predicting those scales will have tipped, with 54,000 fibre connections against 47,700 satellite and wireless broadband connections. But that’s a prediction, not a current number.

Actual adoption is very different again from potential access. Earlier this month, NBN Co said that it had begun construction in areas with a potential reach of 784,592 premises. By June this year, it is due to have actually passed 286,000 premises — just under 10 times the number of active internet connections right now. The takeup total will presumably be higher at that point, but it will be a long time before it even approaches 50 per cent at this rate.

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Deloitte predicts worldwide spectrum shortage

A Spectrum shortage will effect network performance like lower speeds and dropped calls as broadband demand exceeds supply in Australia and globally. Heres an interesting article by Stephanie Mcdonald explaining more:

Deloitte has predicted a spectrum and broadband shortage around the world on the back of growth in smartphone shipments and global 4G rollouts.

Deloitte has released the predictions in its 2013 Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions report. The company has predicted that more than 200 operators in 75 countries will provide 4G by the end of 2014.

“We are likely to see lower prices initially to encourage use, but this won’t be sustainable. Despite LTE spectral efficiency, it will still cost carriers US$5 to US$10 to carry 1GB of data, sufficient for streaming one to two hours of HD video,” Deloitte Australia’s lead telecommunications partner, Stuart Johnston, said in a statement.
He said Australia is currently experiencing a spectrum shortage, which will only get worse.

“LTE, for example, is 16 times more efficient [than] 3G when it comes to moving data. But demand is outstripping technology innovation. In the seven years it took to develop and deploy LTE, wireless traffic has increased 30 times,” Johnston said.

The spectrum shortage will impact on network performance, such as lower speeds and dropped calls and sessions as demand exceeds supply, the Youcompare states.

Johnston said the phablet, which range in screen size from 4.5 to 5.5 inches, will also become a more popular device in 2013. However, the way consumers use smartphones will vary.
“[A] growing number of smartphone owners, close to 2 billion by the end of the year, some 400 million will rarely or never connect their devices to data. This is an important consideration for those organisations developing a ‘mobile centric’ customer strategy,” he said.
Deloitte has predicted that by the end of this year, mobile devices will only make up 15 per cent of Internet traffic, signally that computers are not dead.

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Broadband on way

Work is well under way to bring the National Broadband Network to Corrimal, Dapto and central Wollongong, including Coniston, Mount St Thomas and Mangerton.

NBN Co, which is delivering high-speed broadband throughout Australia either by fibre optic cables, fixed wireless or satellite services, has started construction in Corrimal, Dapto and central Wollongong.

This means NBN contractors are doing detailed design and survey work in those areas for the installation of the fibre optic cables. On average it takes between 12 and 14 months from the start of construction to when residents and businesses can order NBN retail services from an internet service provider.

In the Wollongong council area, the NBN will be provided through fibre optic cables. Rollout maps for Corrimal, Dapto and Wollongong have been released and it was likely residents in those areas would be able to order an NBN service from the end of 2013 or early 2014.

‘‘For any information on where we are with the rollout in the Illawarra, if people go to it will give them an indication of where we are constructing at the moment,’’ NBN Co external relations manager Trent Williams said.

‘‘If their area isn’t indicated yet, it means they’re not in our current three-year plan. It doesn’t mean they’re not getting fibre optic cable necessarily.’’

Mr Williams said the NBN had been completed in Kiama and Minnamurra and 45per cent had taken up the service– one of the best rates in Australia.

‘‘So far Wollongong has been very, very positive about the NBN. It really gives that area access to internet speeds and reliability you typically only got in Sydney recently. It’s breaking down the tyranny of distance.’’

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Australia’s National Broadband Network still on track

Australia’s NBN now covers 784,592 premises, and the fibre-based portion will reach 93 per cent of homes by 2021. By Sean Buckley.

NBN Co., the company building out Australia’s National Broadband Network, said on Friday that it met its construction goals to reach a total of 784,592 premises by the end of 2012.

The service provider said construction will commence when it issues contract instructions to its contractors for a Fibre Service Access Module (FSAM), a device that can serve between 2,000 to 3,000 premises.

Mike Quigley, CEO of NBN, said that it now has the foundation “to reach the peak rollout target of passing over 6000 premises a day by 2015.”

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ACMA: Australia’s digital footprint expands

Australia has moved from baby steps to giant steps in the online world with its digital footprint expanding rapidly during 2011–12.

At 30 June 2012, nearly half of Australia’s adult population (49 per cent) owned a mobile phone that connected to the internet, double the number from last year.
We are downloading more data (421,147 terabytes), a massive 52 per cent increase on last year and the vast majority of downloads (92 per cent) use fixed broadband.
Nearly half of us (10.8 million) went online at least daily, with the typical Aussie spending 82 hours a month on the internet. These are some of the key findings in the ACMA’s Communications report 2011–12, tabled in federal parliament today.
‘Mobile and internet services are driving growth in the digital economy. Australians are increasingly connected, adopting whichever devices best meet their needs,’ said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman.
Other report highlights include:
> Australians mostly communicate using mobile phones (48 per cent), followed by fixed-line phones (22 per cent) and email (21 per cent)
> there are 30.2 million mobile services in use across the country—four for every three people
> the number of mobile users without a fixed-line telephone grew by 24 per cent to 3.1 million
> four out of 10 internet users spend more than 15 hours online a week.

Read the full report:

iiNet claims “first place in fibre”

ISP iiNet says it has connected more than 10,000 customers to fibre to the Home (FTTH) broadband across Australia, surpassing the total number of FTTH customers connected to the NBN.

iiNet’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Malone says that more than 8,000 iiNet Group customers are connected to high-speed FTTH broadband via iiNet’s TransACT and Internode networks and wholesale services, and that a further 2,700 are connected through the NBN.

iiNet calls itself “the leading challenger in Australia’s communications industry” and which is the second largest DSL ISP (after Telstra). Malone, one of the industry’s more tireless self-promoters, said iiNet’s recent acquisitions and growth have positioned the company to be the leader in FTTH broadband in Australia.

“We’re all about upgrading the lives of our customers and giving them access to innovative products backed up by our award-winning customer service. When it comes to FTTH, we’re using every opportunity to connect as many Australians as we can to the best internet around,” he said.

“The number of residential customers connected by the iiNet Group also surpasses the number of Australian homes connected to Fibre by any other provider. As well as delivering super-fast broadband to more people than are connected to FTTH through the NBN, we’re now the largest provider of FTTH services in the country.”

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Optus set to take on Telstra in urban areas

Optus has shrugged off soft quarterly results and declared it can challenge Telstra for network supremacy in urban areas, as it prepares for legal mediation with its bitter rival over 4G-standard advertising.

In the Federal Court, Justice Stephen Rares has ordered senior executives from the two major forces of Australia’s telecommunications industry to attend talks on Friday amid a dispute over advertising for superfast 4G services.

The Australian Financial Review revealed in November that Optus, a subsidiary of locally listed Singapore Telecommunications, was attempting to force Telstra to drop its “network without equal” campaign after media testing showed the No. 2 carrier’s network was faster in many locations in the Sydney metro area.

The latest dispute centres on advertising claims Telstra had the only 4G network in Brisbane after Optus has activated the technology in the city.

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“We are committed to matching Telstra in metro network quality and will defend ourselves against misleading claims in advertising,” SingTel’s Australian consumer chief Kevin Russell said.

But the outbreak in hostilities coincided with the third straight decline in quarterly sales for Optus, forcing it to lower its full-year revenue guidance.

Telstra Signals Game On

Telstra (TLS) has raised the competition heat in the telecommunications sector with its purchase of Adelaide-based ISP Adam Internet, for an undisclosed sum. While only a small acquisition for the giant of the sector, it will make players in the middle tier of the broadband marketplace sit up and take notice, according to brokers. Most see it, with Telstra’s stated aim to run Adam as a separate entity, as a bid to challenge Optus ((SGT)), iiNet ((IIN)) and TPG Telecom ((TPM)). For RBS it is Telstra’s “Jetstar moment”, referring to Qantas’ ((QAN)) well-founded decision to run a budget airline, Jetstar, along side its premium service. For Deutsche, it reaffirms its view that organic growth in this area is difficult. Credit Suisse sees Adam as Telstra’s ‘challenger’ brand and believes it is a significant change for Telstra and the industry.

The acquisition price was not disclosed but speculation puts it at $50-60 million for around 80-100,000 subscribers. Therefore, the acquisition for Credit Suisse, on an 80,000 subscriber basis, implies an acquisition price of 10-12 times FY12 earnings and $550-$660 per subscriber. Credit Suisse believes the deal won’t provoke concerns at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, given Adam only has around 1.5% market share. RBS also notes, nationally, it would not be a material reduction in competition. However, Adam could have up to 20-25% of Adelaide subscribers and that may concern the ACCC.

Adam is seen operating as Telstra’s low cost online channel but benefiting from the infrastructure and balance sheet of Telstra. Credit Suisse says it is a sound strategic move by Telstra, giving it a lower-cost channel to minimise retail market share loss as the NBN rolls out over time. Nevertheless, there is risk, as Adam needs to gain presence outside its home market and not get bogged down by its big brother’s bureaucracy. The broker expects Adam to be positioned as a mid-tier operator going head to head with iiNet and Optus, rather than challenging the lower cost providers TPG and Dodo. The reason for this, Credit Suisse maintains, is that Telstra still has the number one retail broadband business (46% market share) and it would have a lot to lose by leading broadband prices down with the Adam brand. Optus and iiNet hold 18% and 15%, respectively, of the national broadband market share. However, in the metro broadband market, the broker estimates Optus and iiNet collectively hold 45%-50% market share. This, therefore, represents a significant opportunity for Telstra to challenge.

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ACCC asks for comments on NBN pricing plan

The competition regulator has called for public consultation on the latest plan by the national broadband network (NBN) builder on wholesale broadband pricing.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released its first consultation paper on the special access undertaking (SAU) lodged by the network’s builder, NBN Co, on September 28.

The undertaking sets out the terms of conditions and access to the NBN’s fibre, wireless and satellite networks until 2040, while providing the framework for NBN Co to deliver wholesale broadband prices across Australia.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the ACCC would assess the SAU before it could determine whether it was reasonable and promoted the long-term interests of retailers and consumers.

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iiNet Combo, Naked and Home ADSL2+ Plans Now Available

iiNet have launched their newest deals which include their great value Mobile or TV Combo bundles and also their new Naked Value plan, all available now through Youcompare.

iiNet’s new TV and Mobile Combos let you combine any of their Home-2, Home-3 or Home-4 ADSL2+ Broadband plans with their new Home Phone 3 (which includes all your standard local and national calls) plus either a fetchTV starter pack or Mobile SIM plan. Their new Combos also come with BoB2™ rental for 24 months and an online protection pack. TV and Mobile Combos start at $99 per month and you can check them out below.
TV Combo $99
Mobile Combo $99

iiNet have also launched their new Naked DSL plans, including ‘Naked Value‘, which gives you 100GB per month for just $59.95. Naked DSL gives users the ability to do away with their home phone service unlike regular ADSL2+ plans which require a full service home phone connection. iiNet’s new Naked DSL plans include:
Naked Value 100GB $59.95
Naked Home-1 200GB $69.95
Naked Home-2 400GB $89.95
Naked Home-3 600GB $119.95

Click on the link below if you would like to view and compare iiNet’s full range of plans now available on Youcompare. Most plans are available with no fixed term contract or sign up to any plan on a 24 month contract and save up to $80 modem costs.

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