Telstra is planning a customer trial in October of its broadband services and products over the National Broadband Network in Tasmania.
The three-month trial follows similar tests in the of Brunswick, Townsville, Armidale, Willunga, Kiama Downs and Minnamurra in September. It brings the number of ISPs to sign onto the NBN in the state to five. iiNet, Primus, Internode and Exetel also provide NBN services.
Telstra chief executive officer, David Thodey, said the pilot would involve approximately 100 customers living in the NBN’s Stage One sites at Midway Point, Scottsdale and Smithton. Thodey was in Tasmania to open the Tasmanian Growth Summit.
According to Thodey, the pilot is an opportunity for Telstra to assess how BigPond broadband services and digital home products such as T-Box perform over the network.
“It’s unusual for Telstra to access another network rather than use our own, so it’s important we ensure our products and services work smoothly.”
The trial runs until the end of the year. Customers will not be charged by Telstra for participating.
Doug Campbell, a former Telstra executive who is now the chairman of NBN Tasmania, welcomed the announcement, saying it indicated the growing importance of the Tasmanian stage one rollout.
"Not only is the NBN in Tasmania providing people in three communities with the first taste of the NBN, it is giving retail service providers the opportunity to prove the integration of their services onto the new network," he said in a separate statement issued by NBN Co. "They are also gaining valuable experience in the types of service plans that are attractive to customers using the impressive capabilities of the new network."
So far, NBN Tasmania has laid more than 200km of optic fibre around the state, employing more than 200 people. "Hundreds" of service orders have been received by local customers to date, and over half of residents in the target towns of Midway Point, Smithton and Scottsdale have signed up for the NBN.
Campbell claimed there was a "growth in competition" on the network, which he said should provide beneficial for end users in terms of "innovation, service differentiation and price".
Additional reporting by Renai LeMay