There has been a lot of confusion locally about what the transition from Velocity to the Opticomm network means for customers. Concerns relate to transition timing, costs, and communication difficulties.

To get some clarity, the Westender spoke with Managing Director and CEO of Uniti Group, Michael Simmons, during his visit to Brisbane this week. Opticomm is Uniti’s wholesale subsidiary.


  •  The transition from Velocity to Opticomm has been paused and some customer appointments cancelled.

  • Opticomm is working with Telstra on a new transition schedule which it hopes to release shortly, with transition recommencing in early 2023.

  • Current services will continue until the transition commences.

  • Most users no longer require site visits to homes for equipment replacement.

  • Choosing an internet or retail service provider (RSP) is the essential first step for customers.

  • Customers should liaise with their chosen RSP for all advice on their transition schedule.

  • Opticomm does not levy charges on RSPs or customers for the transition or any equipment supplied.

  • Your RSP (not Opticomm) determines the costs for their services to customers.

  • If you elect not to take any action, you will not be disconnected from the network.

Where is the transition to Opticomm up to?

Mr Simmons told the Westender that some operational challenges were identified as the transition was progressed to scale. This led to a pause in the program, and some customers have had their appointments cancelled.

The critical information for customers, Mr Simmons said, is that Opticomm has determined it can manage the transition process for most users at the exchange level. As a result, the transition from Velocity to Opticomm is not contingent on replacing equipment in the home, with some limited exceptions. This is a significant change that Mr Simmons said should result in a smoother, more easily managed process for customers. And at the same time, the user still retains the option to consider alternative retail service providers for internet and voice services.

“Our priority has been to balance the need to provide businesses and residents with access to superfast connectivity, while making the transition and upgrade of their services as smooth as possible.”

“This meant that we (Opticomm) and Telstra, as the respective future and legacy network providers in the Velocity estates, needed to pause, listen to feedback and address some issues that were impacting customer experience and simplify the process.”

“The good news is that the changes that we’re making mean that residents and business may not require a technician appointment to transition to the upgraded Opticomm network. The chosen plan and the network equipment at the premise that connects to the upgraded Opticomm network will determine next steps. This simplifies things and puts the resident in control. “

Mr Simmons said Opticomm is working with Telstra on a new transition schedule which they hope to release it shortly.

“We acknowledge that some people may have been inconvenienced by the pause, but we’re confident that this new process will provide greater choice and flexibility for residents.

“Most importantly current services will continue until the transition commences.

The history of Velocity

Mr Simmons said it is essential to understand the history of the Velocity network to appreciate the current situation.

The Velocity network, which Telstra owned until 2020, is 129 housing estates around Australia and across the old South Brisbane Exchange footprint. When established in 2011, Velocity was at the cutting edge, and its customers were some of the first people in Australia to receive Fibre To The Premise (FTTP) in Australia. 

Telstra was the network operator and the retail service provider for 95 per cent of Velocity’s end users. However, under current regulations, the network owner delivering FTTP must wholesale the network on identical terms to any service provider who wants access.

Telstra elected to sell the network to Opticomm in December 2020, with the operation of the network to transition in the future.

As the wholesale provider, Opticomm does not retail services on the upgraded network in the way that Telstra did. Instead, Opticomm has a list of retail service providers (RSPs) for customers to select from. Telstra is one of those RSPs.

A list of service providers can be found at this link

What is the difference between Opticomm as a wholesale network provider and a Retail Service Provider (RSP)?

Mr Simmons said Opticomm operates the network, and wholesales to retailers, or to any party who wants to access the network.

“RSPs are the household names you would be familiar with, i.e., Telstra, Superloop and Aussie Broadband. They are internet service and voice providers.” 

“Every RSP acquires services over the Opticomm network on identical terms and then they determine what they sell to end users.”

This means customers or end users will have a direct relationship with their RSP, not with Opticomm, Mr Simmons said.

Customers choose their Retail Service Providers (RSP)

The first step to acquiring a service on the Velocity network is for end users to sign up with an RSP, or they can elect to remain with their current RSP, Mr Simmons said.

The RSP will then liaise with Opticomm to enable the transition or delivery of services.

Do I need an appointment with an Opticomm technician to enable the transition?

There has been a significant change for most users regarding the need for a technician’s visit to the home. Mr Simmons told The Westender you may or may not need an appointment for an Opticomm technician to come to your home for the transition to proceed.

In the early stages of the transition, Opticomm was going to replace the Network Termination Device (NTD) that connects the home to the fibre network for all users. In this scenario, if a user had yet to make an appointment via an RSP, they would lose access to the network.

“We’ve been able to determine that for most homes we now don’t need a site visit to transition the existing service or to provide an enhanced service. We can use the existing equipment in the home and make the necessary changes at the exchange.”

“So, in most cases, we can continue to provide a service that is the same as, or better than, what it is today without the inconvenience of a technician coming to your home.”

Mr Simmons says some homes have network terminating equipment (NTD) sitting on the outside of the building, and that means it cannot provide services of 100 Mbps and above, without it being replaced. Services of 100 Mbps and above may be best for people who are streaming a lot of videos, working from home, or using many devices simultaneously. No site visit is necessary if the end user is happy with less than 100 Mbps and has an outside NTD. 

Mr Simmons stresses that users should discuss this with their chosen RSP which can assess the situation at their home and can arrange an appointment with Opticomm if needed.

If I don’t do anything, will my internet be cut off?

“No. Our optical engineers have now ensured an existing premise can operate on the new Opticomm equipment and receive the equivalent service they are getting today, and better, up to one Gbps.

“This is a much simpler transition, there’s less burden on the end user in terms of having to make an appointment and be at home, and we’re bringing choice and competition.”

What do you do if you have an appointment and potentially no longer need one?

“The end user needs to contact their RSP of choice. This is a really important step, contact your RSP of choice and they can assess your home or the premises. This will not require a site visit.” 

“Most people don’t need appointments, with a few exceptions. We hope this change makes it much easier for end users to receive a choice of increased competition and opportunity.”

Mr Simmons says Opticomm will come back sometime in the future and replace old equipment at no charge, but the timing for this will be in the control of the end user.

But he stressed that your new service is not contingent on replacing in-home equipment at this stage.

“It is important that the replacement can be done at the end user’s convenience. The swap out would be determined by people wanting a service greater than one Gbps, which the Opticomm networks are capable of. If you’ve got a business or home office that consumes massive bandwidth, you may wish to upgrade the equipment.

What are the next steps in the transition?

Mr Simmons said Opticomm is working with the Telstra team on the new transition schedule and plans recommencing the new smoother transition process in early 2023.


Michael Simmons, Uniti Group