Telstra reaches halfway mark with ADSL2+ upgrade

Telstra (ASX: TLS.AX) on Tuesday announced that it has installed 1,000 of the 2,000 add-on remote DSLAM devices on existing Remote Terminal (RT) cabinets to bring ADSL services to more of its customer base.

This is another milestone in the telco's so-called "Top Hat" upgrade strategy that's designed to upgrade existing RT cabinets to support ADSL2+ and ADSL service for about 200,000 telephone lines.

The problem Telstra faced with these existing cabinets was that they were installed in the late 1980s and early 1990s in housing developments at a time when telephony, not broadband Internet, was the dominant telecom service. While it was able to retrofit some cabinets to support ADSL services, many just could not accommodate broadband at all, so an alternative strategy was needed.    

Mike Wright, Telstra's executive director of networks, wrote in a company blog that it activated its latest Top Hat in Moruya, New South Wales.

"So far, we've invested around $80 million to make ADSL2+ broadband services available to more than 200,000 homes and businesses," he wrote. "Around 100,000 of these customers have been upgraded from an ADSL service to ADSL2+, while the remaining 100,000 services provide the opportunity for new customers to access fast fixed broadband for the first time."

By the end of the year, Wright added that Telstra will have installed about 1,850 Top Hats in existing RT cabinets to bring broadband services to 350,000 premises.

In tandem with the Top Hat rollout, Telstra is upgrading its connection from the RT cabinets to its core network from copper to fiber-based GigE connections.

Last October, Telstra began working with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) on an 18-month project to conduct the "Top Hat" initiative as an interim step to provide higher speed copper-based broadband services in areas where the National Broadband Network (NBN) services won't be immediately available.

At the time, Telstra said that "locations where National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout is imminent or on the roadmap for the near future will not be getting Top Hat technology."

For more:
- here's the blog post
- ZDNet Australia has this article

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