Tuesday, 31 March 2015 14:22

VIDEO: Telstra previews FTTB NBN experience in Melbourne Forza Italia store

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A Telstra NBN FTTB pilot customer in Melbourne is getting 80Mbps down and 30Mbps up but Telstra warns speeds may be slower after the commercial launch.

Over 10,000 hours of FTTB NBN connectivity has been tested with 30 Telstra customers in Melbourne across multiple sites in the telco’s fibre to the building (FTTB) pilot.

The pilot and extensive trials are being run in conjunction with NBN Co ‘ahead of the technology becoming a cornerstone of NBN Co’s network rollout’.

Telstra’s Director of the ‘Multi-Technology Mix’, Paul Boasman said: “We’ve been pleased by the consistency of performance we’ve seen. Customers involved in our Melbourne pilot have been provided with the fastest speed plan available and are experiencing trial speeds, averaging over 80Mbps download and over 30 Mbps upload with customers experiencing speeds up to 98 Mbps downstream under trial conditions.”

One of the customers happy to share their experiences is Forza Italia, a Melbourne Grand Prix retailer ‘for official licensed sports brands including Ferrari’, which has been lucky enough to be participating in this trial since May 2014.

The store’s owner, Joseph Gerace explained how the high-performance connection has been vital to adopting more sophisticated e-commerce technology in the lead up to the frenetic Grand Prix season and said: “The pilot with Telstra is allowing us to better manage our online sales channel and extend our sales reach to regional, national and international markets.

“The connection is light-years ahead of my previous service. The speed and consistency has given us the confidence to install an interactive cloud based task management system that gives staff the freedom and flexibility to work remotely to stay on top of their workload if they can’t make it into the store.

“Doing business over the FTTB has allowed us to put in place next generation point of sale equipment, including fully integrated Wi-Fi EFTPOS terminal and real time stock control operated via a tablet device. It’s resulting in staff spending less time at the cash register or out the back, and more time on the floor helping our customers.

“We’re also streaming IPTV (Italiantv.com.au) content to multiple screens on the shop floor. Having access to higher download speed means the high resolution content can run all day and without buffering.”

Explaning that the pilot was helping Mr Gerace better connect with his suppliers, he stated: “A lot of our suppliers are international businesses, the increased speed and reliability allows me to host high resolution video calls over Skype on multiple screens with companies all around the world.”

Here’s Telstra’s video with Mr Gerace:

Telstra’s Mr Boasman noted the telco’s heavy involvement ‘in testing the performance of FTTB ahead of its roll out to apartment complexes and office buildings across Australia starting later this year’ and said: “We’re working with real customers to perfect the installation process and to ensure existing devices and applications run smoothly over the new network technology.

“We want our customers have a great experience when we start offering commercial services.”

OPINION:

My personal thought on this is that this is a very long time to be conducting a trial and is presumably indicative of the politics behind the NBN that have prevented this technology from being rolled out much earlier - but hey, at least the trial appears to indicate FTTB is working nicely, and Telstra has seemingly tried to explain things by talking about ‘perfecting the installation process’ as seen just above.

Why this would take nearly a year is unknown but even though the NBN is meant to make things fast, NBN has ironically been synonymous with slow - at least when it comes to rollouts and trials, etc.

Also, as noted above, Telstra wants that ‘speeds obtained under trial conditions may not be what is experienced by customers after commercial launch’, so just how slow speeds go or how fast they remain is yet to be seen, but let’s just hope that FTTB connections when they go commercial perform like a Mercedes engine in 2015 and not like a Renault, with Renault engines a red rag to a slow bull this season.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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