ADSL2+ coming sooner
However, Eftel is expected to roll out ADSL2+ services much sooner. Its BroadbandNext project centres around hardware equipment known as Multi-Services Access Node (MSAN) from its partner Huawei Technologies.
In addition to VDSL2, the MSANs can also deliver ADSL2+, traditional ADSL, IP Video and VoIP services.
So far Eftel has enabled 70 exchanges with the new equipment in Hobart, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, with an additional 15 exchanges fitted every month. "We hope we can get to 300; that will cover 90 per cent of the population," said Lane.
According to Lane, Eftel has 140,000 active accounts in its retail products. Of those less than 50,000 are on traditional ADSL and the remainder on dial up. The plan is to migrate many over to the faster services.
Meanwhile, Eftel's BroadbandNext project got a fillip last week when it was awarded an interim determination for cost relief from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission regarding its Line Sharing Service access dispute with Telstra.
Because BroadbandNext relies on the copper network, it needs access to Telstra's exchanges to install its MSANs. After lobbying the ACCC, Eftel is only required to pay $2.50 per line connection as opposed to Telstra's fee of $9. It joins a number of ISPs who have also successfully taken issue with Telstra to the ACCC over LSS.
Eftel having to pay $2.50 makes a lot more business sense, said Lane.
"At $9 the project still works. We are a public company; we don't do rash things. So it will be imprudent to rely necessarily upon ACCC decisions. But at $2.50 it makes the project really attractive to us and shareholders," he said.