Optus chief outlines telco "megatrends"

Exploding speeds, device procesing power and NBN = cloud

Optus chief executive, Paul O’Sullivan, has flagged Optus’ vision of the "megatrends" that will drive the elecommunications industry.

Detailing his view in a speech to the Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA), O’Sullivan said there was an explosion in bandwidth happening across all the major communications technologies.

By way of example, O’Sullivan said Optus’s mobile network now delivers peak data speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps — nearly 20 times faster than in 2005.

The company was also heavily investing in a trial of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, which was expected to deliver peak speeds of up to 340 Mbps, more than 1200 times faster than Optus could offer on its network in 2005.

The increasing processing power of handheld and smart devices and the associated revolution in how information is presented on touch screens was also another major trend, he said.

“For example, the Apple iPhone has processing capacity equivalent to the average PC of five years ago,” he said. “Over the next few years, the processing power of these devices will continue to explode.”

O’Sullivan highlighted global government policy that focuses on upgrading national fixed line networks to create 21st century high speed broadband highways as another major trend.

“And that’s just a start; by taking fibre right to the home or office there is a future roadmap to 1Gbps and beyond,” he said.

These three trends would combine to create a fourth — accessing intelligent computer applications hosted centrally in large data centres. In other words, the Cloud.

“The impact of this will exceed what the creation of the mobile phone did for us,” he said. “We will share access to amazingly powerful computer applications that are updated in real time and track global and local events in ways individuals could never have afforded by themselves or dreamed of previously.”

O’Sullivan also posed a question: If mobile speeds are increasing and mobile devices are becoming more powerful, does the Australian Government need to spend billions on a new fixed line broadband network?

“The answer is simple — the demand for speed and bandwidth is insatiable and exponential,” he said. “And, for the foreseeable future, fibre networks will remain a very significant step ahead of mobile networks in terms of capacity and economics for very high volume traffic.”

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