ISP moments in 2009

A look back at some of the events that shaped the industry this year

  • BigAir kicked off the first real news of the year with an announcement it would [[artnid:272125|launch WiMAX services in Perth]]. Later in the year Adam Internet announced it had [[artnid:325825|lit up WiMAX]] for three South Australian locations - Reynella, Morphett Vale and Sheidow Park – as part of a joint project with the state government called AdamMax. That news came just after the Seven Network said it would [[artnid:317108|build a $50 million WiMax network in Perth]] through a new new wireless division called Vividwireless. [[xref:|Read more on WiMAX in 2009]]

  • In early February, an iPrimus datacentre in King St, Melbourne, [[artnid:275063|suffered a complete power outage]], including failure of the emergency diesel backup system. The outage resulted in numerous ISPs issuing statements to businesses and residential customers explaining why their Internet connections and VoIP services were down for several hours.

  • Communications minister, Stephen Conroy, [[artnid:276465|announced six ISPs will participate in the first phase of the Federal Government’s controversial plan to introduce mandatory filtering of Australia’s Internet feed]]. The ISPs involved in the first phase of the live pilot were: Primus Telecommunications, Tech 2U, Webshield, OMNIconnect, Netforce and Highway 1. The topic continued on throughout the year with several notable developments taking place. Read more on the [[xref:|Internet Content Filter saga]]. The pilot later had iiNet join and then ditch the idea, Optus say it would opt in, and Telstra do a private trial. In the end 9 participated.

  • Launched by the Government with fanfare in April, the $43 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) has been one of the most talked-about infrastructure projects this country has ever witnessed. The appointment of the public company, NBNco, to oversee the rollout was followed by a string of news reports and other developments. From the initial drama of the tender process for a fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network that saw Telstra fail to put in a full bid, the Government accept it anyway, a panel of experts pan all of the bids, and the Government then decide to abandon the process while announcing it would spend up to $43 billion on a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network and set up a new government majority-owned entity to construct the whole thing the impact has been massive. After all the NBN is arguably the biggest infrastructure project the nation has ever attempted to make a reality and the $43 billion NBN announcement came at a time when the economy was teetering on recession, providing a much-needed confidence boost and the promise of tens of thousands of new jobs. Since then, the NBN and its potential benefits/challenges have dominated the news media and forced almost every industry to consider how they will be affected. Read more on the [[xref:|National Broadband Network (NBN).]]

  • June marked 20 years since Robert Elz and Torben Neilsen completed the [[artnid:308840|first circuit that brought the Internet to Australia]]. More than 12 million Australians users have been connected to the Internet since the first 56kbps satellite circuit was created, according to the International Telecommunications Union. Internet access was available in 1989 initially to universities via the Australian Academic Research Network (AARNet) and was later offered by commercial Internet Service Providers during the early 1990s. The first connection saw Elz from the University of Melbourne and Neilsen from the University of Hawaii link AARNet to the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANet) over a 2400 baud satellite link. Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) chief scientist Geoff Huston said the Internet pioneers predicted the shift in networking philosophy to a focus on fast, simple networks where applications deal with complexity. Pictured: Peter Elford and Geoff Huston in the early years, 1990.

  • A new fibre optic communications cable which connects Tasmania with the Australian mainland was [[artnid:310018|officially turned on in July.]] Basslink, the first cable to cross the Bass Strait which is not operated by Telstra, connects Victoria’s Loy Yang power station, with the George Town power station in northern Tasmania. It brought with it a host of announcements of new services by ISPs.

  • In September, the Australian Government said it wants Telstra to structurally separate and if the telco giant won't do so voluntarily the [[artnid:318566|Rudd administration will use regulation to achieve the goal]]. At a press conference in Canberra, communications minister Stephen Conroy, said telecommunications legislation, to be introduced into parliament, will allow the government to impose a strong functional separation framework on Telstra unless it separates of its own accord. For his part, Telstra CEO David Thodey and his colleagues said the [[artnid:321663|plan wouldn't work or be acceptable to the telco giant]]. Other ISPs, however, want the legislation, which has been [[artnid:327882|delayed until early next year]], to be passed as soon as possible to create a [[artnid:328276|fairer competitive environment for the industry]]. Read more on the [[xref:|Telstra separation story]].

  • 10.15 am. Court Room 18C. Federal Court of Australia, New South Wales Registry. October 6, 2009. If you didn't mark it down, you should have. It may just be one of the most important dates in Australian ICT and copyright history. It was the start of: Roadshow Films Pty Ltd ACN 100 746 870 & Ors v iiNet Ltd ACN 068 628 937 In other words, the civil action between a host of film Studios and a couple of TV stations - as represented by Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT ) - versus Internet Service Provider (ISP), iiNet. The case went for weeks and swung back and forward between the parties with several barbs thrown in for good measure. The result is still not known but is bound to have a massive impact. Read more on the [[xref:|AFACT v iiNet case]].

  • Credit: Dreamstime

    In October, the PIPE Networks undersea cable system, PIPE Pacific Cable (PPC-1), stretching from Sydney to Guam, was [[artnid:321450|officially launched at an event at Sydney’s Australian Technology Park]]. The cable system, capable of carrying data at 1.92 terabits per second, through the transmission of IP packets between Australia and the US, is expected to bring increased competition to Australia's broadband market. PIPE International CEO, Bevan Slattery said the PPC-1 submarine cable will be a catalyst for change in the Australian telecommunications industry.

  • In November it was revealed, [[artnid:326179|Internode is going it alone in offering a trial of IPv6 services]] in native mode on its national ADSL network as other large ISPs reported they won't be following suit in the near future. Internode announced an IPv6 trial across the company's national network and provides concurrent IPv6 and IPv4 PPP access for any router or computer that supports it. In the wake of shinking IPv4 space, there have been several calls for more adoption of IPv6, including from Internet pioneer, Vinton Cerf — but there has been little action to date. And aside from Internode's trial, there doesn’t appear to be much concern among Australia's ISP community.

  • Also in November, [[artnid:325875|SP Telemedia (ASX:SOT - but now TPG) said it will acquire PIPE Networks (ASX:PWK) for $6.30 per share]]. In a statement to the ASX, SPT executive chairman, David Teoh said the deal would position the company as a fully-integrated telecommunications provider. "PIPE's extensive metropolitan dark fibre network will increase SPT's capabilities as a data communications provider," he said in the statement. "In addition, PPC-1 gives us a competitive advantage with access to international bandwidth, allowing us to offer highly attractive products to both existing and new customers." The deal is subject to the approval of the court and PIPE's shareholders, which will be sought at a meeting likely to be held in March.

  • In December, just before Christmas, the [[artnid:329888|Federal Government said it will introduce legislative amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act]] to require all ISPs to block Refused Classification (RC)-rated material hosted on overseas servers. The introduction of mandatory ISP-level filtering follows the release of the Enex TestLab report which trialed the viability of ISP-level filtering among nine Australian ISPs. And the outcry was palpable - several protests are being organised and a long string of critics have raised their concerns while others have welcomed it. Read more on the [[xref:|ISP-level content filter story]].

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