It’s nearly a year since our last update on the South Brisbane Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) legacy Telstra network. As an indicator of the significance of internet issues for those of us who live in the South Brisbane Telstra network catchment, that update is still one of our most-read stories.
To gauge progress on the upgrade and transition of the network, I recently spoke with Uniti Group for an update on the transition network from Telstra to Opticomm, Uniti Group’s wholesale network provider.
To recap on our last story, on 24 December 2020, Telstra sold its FTTP networks in South Brisbane and across the 124 Velocity estates to Uniti Group Limited. As the Velocity technology is quite aged, Opticomm has been upgrading and modernising the infrastructure across the FTTP networks and getting ready to transition 50,000 premises nationally onto the Opticomm FTTP access network.
What is Opticomm offering?
Opticomm will gradually take over from Telstra as the network wholesale service operator from July 2022. Currently, Telstra and Opticomm are working together to develop the systems, processes, protocols, and network requirements to enable the network transition to occur.
Opticomm says the transition will provide residents with improved speeds and a wider choice of phone and internet service providers. With plans of up to 1 Gbps available from certain providers once residents make the transition.
“Opticomm is investing heavily to upgrade the network to provide residents with improved speeds and enhanced services. The speeds on the upgraded network will immediately match those available on the nbn today. Importantly we’re implementing next-generation technology creating a pathway to support speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbps). As demand grows the network will be able to keep pace,” Mrs Walsh said.
“We’re investing to ensure that the technology we’ve put in today will support the community for many years.”
“We’re also bringing a wide choice of service providers which drive commercial competition.”
Opticomm will not sell directly to residents rather: Opticomm will only act as the telecommunications wholesaler. This means they are responsible for the infrastructure that connects a premise to its access network. Service providers will then offer phone, internet and other services to residents.
Opticomm says currently you can choose from over 45 service providers when it’s time to transition. But, of course, you can stay with your current provider if they offer plans powered by Opticomm in your area.
When your area is ready to make the transition, to avoid disconnection or disruption to your services you’ll need to place an order with a service provider that meets your needs and schedule an appointment with an Opticomm technician to upgrade the equipment that connects your home to the network.
Mrs Walsh advised last week that the transition to the Opticomm access network will be rolled out on an area-by-area basis based on geographic location and will take approximately 13 months. This is expected to take place at scale progressively from August 2022 with certain areas able to place orders from June 2022.
“Because the South Brisbane area is quite a large area to cover, it has been broken up into tranches with the transition targeted to be completed in 2023.”
Ahead of the transition, residents who will be among the first to switch to the upgraded FTTP access network can begin to place orders with their chosen Opticomm service provider from June this year, with the cut over or transitioning of services starting in August, Mrs Walsh said.
The three steps you will need to take are:
- Check your address
- Choose a service provider and your new plan
- Schedule an appointment with an Opticomm approved technician
Check your address
Mrs. Walsh said people can check their addresses online.
Choose your service provider.
If you are a current customer, your existing internet provider should contact you in the lead up to the transition.
“Your service provider will let you know what arrangements need to be made to transition your existing service from the legacy Telstra network to the upgraded Opticomm access network. This may include providing you with a selection of plan options or sending you a replacement modem as the upgraded network will enable enhanced broadband products and services, including higher-speed plans,” Mrs Walsh said.
The current list of service providers can be found here – https://www.opticomm.com.au/service-providers/
Schedule a technician appointment
Once you have chosen your service provider, you will need to schedule an appointment with an Opticomm approved technician to upgrade the equipment that connects your premises to the upgraded access network.
Alternatives to fibre
The long wait for change has made some consider 5G as an alternative to fibre.
Mrs. Walsh said Opticomm had done a lot of research into 5G to assess whether it is competitive with fibre.
“Our view is that fibre has infinite capacity. We’re laying fibre that’s capable of Gigabit speeds that 5G won’t compete with. And as demands continue to grow in the coming years fibre is the technology of the future when it comes to fixed broadband services.”
See more details here – https://www.opticomm.com.au/about-us/why-fibre/.
Your current internet service provider will let you know when it’s time to place an order or you can also visit the Opticomm website for more information.
The Transition Road Map can be found under ‘Useful information‘ on the Opticomm website – https://www.opticomm.com.au/velocity/
If you have other questions not covered here, see the FAQ section on the Opticomm site – https://www.opticomm.com.au/support/faqs/
Opticomm is producing a flyer to be ready to go out with vans when upgrades begin.
The Westender will continue to provide updates, and we invite readers to join the conversation using the comments box or on our social media – links below.
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