The Australian Government has announced that they have scrapped the tender process for a company to build an FTTN network, and will instead build its own new network that will put fibre out to 90% of all Australian homes. This is a FTTP which means that apartments will be sharing access to the fibre rather than getting one each. Home owners though will get 100Mbs fibre right to their front door.
This is great policy in terms of IT, economic stimulus and social equity. Surprisingly good from the same policy makers that brought us the great Australian firewall (more on this later). Rather than leaving it up to businesses to make economic decisions on where they can make the best profits from placing infrastructure, the government has decided to ensure everyone gets a chance by funding access for everyone. Suppliers of Internet services will then provide their services on top of this. This is identical to other utilities where the government supplies the base infrastructure to the homes and the service providers pay for access to provide their services over it.
Not only does it help to ensure everyone in the country has access to high speed broadband, it also increases the ability for true competition to exist in the market. Currently all of the Telco infrastructure is privately owned by the major carriers who despite some legislative controls, can block access to their competitors. This will allow smaller and local businesses to offer competitive options for Internet services and creative bundling of services like phone, broadband, television, etc.
What will still be lacking is the quality of service to the outside world which is restricted by the distance we are from everything. Our links to the US are not large enough to get good throughput from there now, and upping the links to everyones homes will not improve this situation. It could produce new options for local businesses though for high definition content hosted within country.
I am not holding my breath until the roll-out reaches my house as it will be an 8 year project in total. We might finally get to the technological level promised for the 90′s.