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Voda Oz to trial NBN Services

Maybe fixed networks will work better…

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Vodafone Australia has announced its first trial customer connections on Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), hooking up households in Armidale.

The mobile carrier had announced it was signing onto as an NBN retailer earlier this year. Voda says it is delivering FetchTV and trialling femtocell services in the service. The femtocell service, called Vodafone Expand, offloads in-home mobile access to the fixed network.

The company says it intends to add trial connections in the NBN deployments in the Victorian suburb of Brunswick and Kiama on the NSW south coast. Those connections will happen “this year”, the company’s blog post says, which realistically means either in the next couple of days, or in the brief “zombie zone” between Christmas and the new year.

According to The Australian, Vodafone has put dedicated call centre staff in place to support the NBN trial connections.

In a statement, communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy has called the Vodafone deployment an endorsement of the NBN business model. Rejecting accusations that the infrastructure project is anti-competitive, Conroy said “Vodafone's decision to enter the fixed-line services market demonstrates that structural reform is increasing retail service competition leading to a more dynamic and innovative market”, in a statement.

Vodafone’s entry into Australia’s fixed line business follows a year in which its mobile operations have suffered high-profile congestion-driven collapses, leading the company to accelerate its rollout of an expanded network of base stations. ®

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