Feeds

Voda wants NBN access to boost regional 4G spread

Country Oz needs a fibre diet to suck nutrients out of wireless broadband

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Vodafone has said it's hoping that the rollout of the National Broadband Network will give it the chance to improve country mobile services.

In evidence to the Joint Parliamentary Inquiry into the National Broadband Network on Friday April 19, the junior member of Australia's three-strong mobile carrier club identified Telstra's near-monopoly over some regional backhaul routes as a constraint to competitive service outside Australia's cities.

While several fibre owners provide inter-capital services on Australia's eastern sea-board, and three – Telstra, Optus and Nextgen Networks – reach from the east to Perth, competition falls dramatically as distance from the coast rises.

Public policy chief Matthew Lobb told the committee that Telstra has an automatic advantage in the country: it already has backhaul available in regional locations, often for so long that the asset has been depreciated, and only needs to set up a mobile tower to offer services.

By comparison, he said, for players like Vodafone and Optus, “the backhaul charges are extremely high”, with consequent impacts on what services they can offer.

According to The Australian, Lobb hinted that affordable backhaul could see the company take its 4G services to regional areas.

The threat that the NBN might become an alternative service provider to the mobile networks has already met resistance from others in the industry, with TPG's PIPE Networks putting a submission to the committee arguing against the idea.

However, Lobb told The Register he believes the NBN could offer significant opportunities for existing transport network providers, since one of the greatest costs for any location is providing the new fibre connection from the site to the backhaul network.

In Vodafone's proposal, he explained, a new mobile tower could use the NBN fibre as far as the nearest NBN Point of Interconnect (POI), where it would be transferred to the network of an existing backhaul provider like Telstra, Optus, Nextgen, AAPT or Pipe.

“We think the NBN could provide a powerful role in carrying traffic to places where contestable backhaul exists,” Lobb said.

In cities, that would provide a growth opportunity because, he said, mobile carriers are moving towards heterogeneous networks with larger number of small cells needed to support burgeoning data demands.

Outside the cities, he believes, the NBN would offer opportunities to connect locations that carriers like Vodafone can't currently serve.

He gave the example of the town of Molong, which is around 100 km south of Dubbo.

Although the distance is greater, the model is the same, he said: the NBN would only be used to carry the traffic from the remote location to the POI, after which Vodafone would contract with one of the existing backhaul providers to complete the connection back to its own network.

In towns like Molong, where the only long-haul connection available is from Telstra, “it's a real inhibitor” to competitive mobile carriers entering the market, Lobb told The Register. He noted that when the Regional Backhaul Blackspots Program network (being built and operated by Nextgen for the government) reached Darwin, “we saw a dramatic drop in the prices we were paying.”

“It's not just a mobile base station issue,” Lobb said. “Wherever access fibre is needed, the NBN could play a role – electricity meters, traffic lights. There's a lot of possible applications.”

“We're not advocating that the NBN become an end-to-end backhaul provider. But they could provide services that allow us to make more use of our existing backhaul services.” ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.