Telstra chief executive, David Thodey, has said demand in the average home for the 1Gbps speeds now planned under Labor’s National Broadband Network policy was “a good few years away”, although he welcomed NBN Co’s commitment to providing the upgraded speeds.
Earlier, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy - on advice from NBN Co chief Mike Quigley – revealed the NBN would support speeds of up to 1Gbps - 10 times the 100Mbps speeds initially planned.
Speaking at Telstra’s annual financial results briefing, Thodey said demand for gigabit broadband was “a good few years away”, although he admitted it was hard to predict. "For the average home, for the foreseeable future, it’s probably a bit of a way away," he said. "But it’s great to know that NBN are doing it."
Telstra doesn’t currently offer gigabit broadband to the home, but it does offer it to business customers, and Thodey said there were a number of users who were using it for video production, for example.
Telstra does have a trial of 100Mbps HFC cable in Melborne, and while adoption has been reported to be slow, Thodey said the company was seeing “a little bit more momentum there”. “But gigabit’s a lot of information,” he said.
Since the announcement, online debate has raged about whether 1Gbps broadband is overkill – whether the capacity of the service will be used, and at what point in the future it would be needed. For example, a thread on broadband forum Whirlpool on the subject has already hit 25 pages long, and the subject is also being debated on Twitter.
Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has already dismissed the upgraded speeds as an election ploy - a claim NBN Co chief Mike Quigley has denied.