By Ian Neubauer

SYDNEY: Internet service provider EFTel is heralding the coming of VDSL2 (Very High Speed Digital Subscriber Line), a new generation of broadband delivery the company says will be up to 400 times faster than ADSL.

Operating under the brand BroadbandNext, the network will be built on multi-service access node technology with an aggressive rollout scheduled to commence in February next year.

“Customers connected to BroadbandNext will enjoy benefits such as massively fast downloads, a wider range of service types, and improved levels of customer support from a smarted network,” said Eftel CEO Simon Ehrenfeld. “Apart from delivering superior services to customers, the rollout brings EFTel some freedom from the Telstra cost prison.”

EFTel is leveraging the service’s viability on the premise that VDSL2 is the technology best suited to the proposed FTTN (fibre to the node) environment of the future. FTTN is a form of optic-optic delivery that depends on copper or coaxial cable for ‘last mile’ delivery. A more advanced data delivery system is FTTH (fibre to the home), in which the optical signal reaches all the way into the end user’s living or office space.

But a spokesperson for rival ISP Pacific Internet said the fast delivery speeds of VDSL2 would be limited on copper—just like any DSL service.

“It’s a step in the right direction but it’s a small step toward the FTTH network that is being planned,” the spokesperson said. “And I don’t think there is any ratification for the VDSL2 standard in Australia yet—or hardware for that matter. I think coverage will be limited and EFTel is banking on VDSL2 to be ratified sooner rather than later.”

EFTel’s Enrenfeld said ISPs like Pacific Internet have a vested interest in the failure of the newer technology because they have invested heavily in DSLAM, which does not have an upgrade path to VDSL2. He also discounted the argument that copper was an inappropriate medium for high-speed data delivery.

“Once upon a time they said copper could only deliver 14 kilobytes, but now we have copper delivering ADSL2. How much we will get out of copper is an interesting question,” he said.

The Department for Broadband, Communications and Digital Technology confirmed no industry code or technical standards for VDSL2 have been ratified in Australia. However, the ministry confirmed a working committee had been established to incorporate the technology in line with international specifications and recommendations.