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Tech Talk Radio Show 11 of 2009
Transmission date: March 16, 2009

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Ep 10: TTR Ep 1109: Apples iPhone under threat, Is Twitter on the market, Choice finds biggest tech rip-offs, Charging batteries just got a whole lot faster and The World Wide Web turns 20.

March 16 , 2009

Last week Telsta announce a $300M upgrade to its cable system in Melbourne by installing DOCSIS 3.0, which will be the first stage of a national rollout. DOCSIS has been around since 2006 and stands for data over cable service interface specification, and is the software needed to use hybrid fibre coaxial cable (HFC) for symmetric internet services. So is this the beginning of the end of the federal governments National Broadband Network? Some columnists believe it is.

Telstra HFC

It’s easy to be cynical about the motives behind Telstra’s non compliant bid to be part of the National Broadband Network, but history will show that Telstra, like Apple, have always had the approach to business that they will do it when and how they want, in a time that suits them and most definitely following no one else’s agenda. The NBN is no different to Telstra.

Already Australia’s incumbent Telco has a RF broadband network far faster than its competitors, and with coverage that far exceeds anyone else’s as well. This also seems set to double by the end of the year from 21Mbs to 48Mbs. Add to this the Cable upgrade in metro areas to 100 Mbs and it makes the governments 12 Mbs look like dial up.

What’s interesting is that Telstra seem to be looking to move their customers off the copper unbundled local loop to cable, something that does not fall under regulation. So what will happen to the maintenance of the copper once the migration ramps up? Let me answer a question with a question, Why would anyone maintain something they had no need or use for anymore?

Australia has two cable networks covering about 2.5 million of those houses and businesses in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. One of them - the Optus one - is in mothballs because ULL ADSL also levels the playing field with Telstra and makes more sense, cost-wise. And as Alan Kohler said in Business Spectator last week, there's one thing Telstra hates, and that's a level playing field - thus the $300 million on DOCSIS 3.0 for its cable in Melbourne, with the rest of the network to come.

To get a return on this investment, Telstra will work hard to switch all of those customers over to cable and away from copper, which means there won't be enough customers left to make it worth spending money on nodes in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and chucking away all the existing ADSL equipment in the exchanges - especially considering how hard it is to raise money these days.

High speed broadband is on the way for some of us, albeit in Telstra time, but the longer Conroy procrastinates over the NBN, the bigger the egg will be that will ultimately find its way to the governments face.

This week on TTR

Adam Turner looks at the looming competition for Apples iPhone
Is Twitter on the market?
Choice finds biggest tech rip-offs
Charging batteries just got a whole lot faster and
The World Wide Web turns 20.