ISPs label OPEL a feeble overbuild of existing infrastructure

Network dubbed billion dollar botch

Fitzgerald agreed with Feldbauer that local ISPs could advise the best regional broadband solution because they must understand their regions socio, economic and geographic nuances to be successful.

A technical support manager for a Perth-based fixed and wireless ISP said the network is a "billion-dollar botch" and echoed sentiments that funds should go to successful local operators to improve regional services.

"After all this, the bush will still use satellite and are expected to be happy with a dribble from government funds," she said.

Highlands Internet ADSL manager Alex Fabris said the OPEL network will give the NSW Southern Highlands faster wireless and fixed broadband services.

All eyes are on Communications Minister Stephen Conroy because very little has been said about costing and deadlines

Ovum analyst Nathan Burley

"It will probably allow the ISPs to offer faster ADSL2+ [through the OPEL wholesale network] and would strengthen the wireless broadband across the region," Fabris said.

First generation ADSL and a 1.5Mbps wireless connection is the fastest broadband on offer around the Mittagong and Bowral region.

"We need better network speeds and upgrades to DSLAMs, but it is more important to roll broadband into areas that don't have it at all," Fabris said.

Respondents said that terrain would still cause connectivity problems despite that OPEL's newly acquired 2.3Ghz and 3.5Ghz spectrum is suitable for WiMax.

Ovum analyst Nathan Burley said the OPEL network could tighten competition between ISPs and introduce better broadband infrastructure into local regions.

But he said a more burning issue is whether the $65 million spectrum splurge will increase projected costs and push back deployment deadlines.

"All eyes are on Communications Minister Stephen Conroy because very little has been said about costing and deadlines," Burley said.

Market Clairty CEO Shara Evans said the network will give local ISPs greater coverage for a cheaper price by offering a national wholesale service from a single provider.

"It will give ISPs new broadband services and allow them to expand into new regions by bringing a large network under one contract instead of 20," Evans said.

She said ISPs will feel the heat when OPEL enters already saturated, while an overlap of services will improve infrastructure.

Click to e-mail your opinion to Darren Pauli.

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