Things are hotting up with the FTTN (fibre to the node, a technology that puts a fibre to the end of your street and uses high-speed copper for the rest) debate in Australia. It's quite worrying because Telstra's spin is all aimed at forcing the government to make a rash decision before the election. Such a decision would almost certainly re-entrench Telstra's monopoly.
Some are asking why we need FTTN. It promises amazingly fast speeds, and is a stepping stone to full FTTH (fibre to the home). That's all well and good, but there's nothing to say we really need it right now. In fact, a relic from the early 90s battle between Optus and Telstra could be used to demonstrate why we need FTTN speeds.
Running past my house are two cables for cable TV and data. The latest standards allow up to 160Mbit/s downstream and up to 120Mbit/s upstream on these cables. The architecture of this cable is that as bandwidth demands increase, they can add more capacity by running fibre closer and closer to homes.
So if Telstra really wants to push this agenda, why are the maximum speeds available through their cable only capable of 17Mbit/s down and 256kbit/s upstream? As always Telstra are huffing and puffing, but they could deliver FTTN and faster speeds to a fair number of consumers today!