It's your Fantastic broadband service

Telstra has signalled its "serious" commitment to the broadband world with the announcement that it is partnering with The Fantastic Corporation for the delivery of broadband multimedia services.

The companies said that an internal six-week trial of Fantastic's software is currently underway at Telstra via the carrier's SkyConnect satellite service.

The Fantastic Corporation is providing a software platform and solutions that "facilitate the aggregation of content", according to Laurence Cole, Fantastic's director, Australia and New Zealand.

"We're providing solutions to enable multimedia content to be pushed out to networks," he said.

According to Cole, Fantastic can enable content to be delivered in multiple forms across multiple networks and devices.

Following the trial, Telstra plans to launch a commercial broadband service across its satellite, cable and soon-to-be-built ADSL networks.

The business-to-business market will be the initial target for the service, with the intention of expanding into the business-to-consumer market in the future, both companies said.

"It's not just about consumer products. A lot of corporations need to develop content for their employees," Cole said.

Under the partnership, Telstra and The Fantastic Corporation will work together to recruit content providers to deliver a wide range of content, including games, news and services. In fact, two unnamed content providers will be trialled during the six-week test run.

"We are already looking for partners," said Chris Flintoft, Telstra.com's content development manager. "This is the next generation of online service that will be coming."

Telstra will begin the rollout of its ADSL network in August. In two years, it is expected that Australia's entire population will have broadband access via the network.

The 3G spectrum, due to be auctioned off next year, will also be used to deliver broadband service to mobile IP-based devices.

"WAP (wireless application protocol) is an interim technology. 3G is where the development is heading," Cole said.

However, Flintoft said the 3G broadband market is not expected to take off for 18 to 24 months. "The technology to support the handsets is not there yet."

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