Telstra Wholesale has revealed details of the Layer 2 fibre product it will supply ISPs on the revamped South Brisbane Exchange, the site of a controversial copper to fibre migration.
Telstra is replacing its copper network in South Brisbane with a fibre-to-the-premises network because the site of its current telephone exchange is being demolished to make way for a hospital. Internet service providers had raised concerns over how the migration to fibre would affect the DSL customers they had on resold Telstra ports in the exchange.
Telstra's Fibre Access Broadband (FAB) product was announced in an e-newsletter published earlier this month.
The launch of FAB confirmed that Telstra would continue to provide wholesale access to South Brisbane in a manner that resembled existing DSL wholesale arrangements.
It was the result of months of work by Telstra and wholesale customers.
Based on Point Cook
Large portions of the FAB product were modeled on an open access system Telstra has trialled for the past year in the outer Melbourne suburb of Point Cook, where the telco had embarked on copper-to-fibre migration similar (but on a smaller scale) to what was occurring in South Brisbane.
"We are leveraging a lot of our FAB development off Point Cook," Telstra Wholesale's executive director of product and marketing Terry Scerri told iTnews.
"Point Cook has really been an opportunity to learn with our customers what's involved with an FTTP rollout.
"The reason we extended that trial [by six months] was because I think we and our customers were continuing to learn more from the experience on a variety of levels – pricing, rollout, logistics and what customers themselves think of the experience."
FAB was designed to "mimic" Telstra Wholesale's existing DSL L2 internet grade product in the backend to minimise challenges that ISPs might have when migrating their customers from DSL to fibre connections in the South Brisbane area.
"What we're hoping is to minimise backend changes by trying to keep the environments as similar as possible," Scerri said.
"We're delivering FAB to minimise disruption by keeping [true] to the backend systems we offer today."
To that end, FAB in its current iteration would not support multi-casting because it was something Telstra did not support on existing wholesale DSL services.
"It really comes down the technical architecture of the communications protocol between our network and the customer's network," Scerri said.
"From the way in which the current [FAB] product architecture is designed, multicast is not supported."
Scerri said Telstra was investigating the viability of alternate solutions that would support multicast services in the future.
It was anticipated that the South Brisbane fibre exchange would also be built to NBN specifications "so that it will be consistent with the wider NBN build and will more readily facilitate the ultimate sale of the infrastructure to NBN Co", Telstra said in its e-newsletter.
Scerri said "conversations" with NBN Co were continuing but could not confirm if they had been completed.
He said, however, that the conversations had allowed Telstra to "identify and clearly map what the differences are in our fibre rollout to the NBN specification".
"We're very clear [on the differences]," Scerri said.
"I'd suggest the differences are not that major. We've been in sufficient contact to make sure that any fibre we lay in South Brisbane would meet the [NBN] specifications that came out in our conversations [with them]."
The FAB product would be offered in three speed tiers - "up to 8Mbps down/384 Kbps up, 30M/1M and 100M/5M."
This differed from NBN standards of 12/1, 25/10, 50/20 and 100/40.
Scerri said that the FAB speed tiers had been decided "based on the technology we're offering" and Telstra's decision for FAB to closely reflect what it had previously offered ISPs from a wholesale DSL perspective.
Customer migration to South Brisbane fibre was due to begin in August.