By Sarah Falson

MELBOURNE: Narta supplier, Freshtel Holdings, has announced a partnership with Country Energy which will see the company supply an internet telephony service to customers participating in a broadband over powerline (BPL) trial in Queanbeyan.

Country Energy, which manages Australia’s largest power supply network across 95 per cent of New South Wales, will launch the six-month trial in May which is designed to test power utility applications as well as high speed broadband internet and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services delivered by powerlines.

Freshtel CEO, John Butkiewicz, said the trial will provide an insight in to the potential for widespread internet telephony uptake locally.

“The use of existing infrastructure to provide broadband telecommunications services to country and coastal communities will provide an exiting boost to broadband penetration,”

“Broadband usage is a key criterion in the growth of internet telephony. As high performance broadband becomes more accessible, internet telephony uptake will increase as consumers and businesses use their Freshtel internet phone service to drastically cut their telecommunication costs,” he said.

The 300 households participating in the trial will each receive a modem and access to the broadband service, along with a Binatone cordless phone with $30 per month of Freshtel call credit.

The trial will test technology that will provide households with broadband access up to 40 times faster than a 256Kb ADSL connection, according to Freshtel.

“Freshtel is very excited to be involved in this trial of leading-edge technology and to work with a partner who is as committed to innovation as we are. Our R&D team will be working closely with Country Energy to monitor and enhance the customer response and technical performance of the voice calls throughout the trial period,” said Butkiewicz.