One of the more surreal sights in our new telco environment was Telecom Chorus staff wearing Vodafone T-shirts to celebrate the launch of Vodafone's Red Network.
Now Vodafone GM of Fixed line & Broadband, David Joyce, says his company is working with Chorus begin testing Vodafone's new, super-fast VDSL service at the Ponsonby exchange in Auckland. Testing will extend to five further exchanges over the next five weeks.
Orcon has also partnered with Chorus on a similar VDSL trial, says Orcon Group Product Manager Duncan Blair, again starting in Ponsonby. Blair says the trial will expand to Airdale Street in the CBD, Mt Eden and Ellerslie. Like his counterpart at Vodafone, Blair's wary of announcing a launch date at this point.
It's good to see Chorus starting to act as nature - sorry, David Cunliffe - intended. But let's hope this and similar projects expand dramatically beyond five exchanges (for there are 650 in NZ, fact fans. As of this week, Vodafone has moved its own DSL gear into 23 Telecom exchanges; Orcon 21. For both companies, all unbundling so far is around Auckland suburbs).
Under Telecom's three-way operational separation, its Chorus division - launched in March - builds and maintains network infrastructure. Telecom Wholesale then sells bandwidth on that network to all ISPs, including the Telecom-owned Xtra.
VDSL is the highest evolution of copper cable broadband, far outpacing ADSL and ADSL2+ to deliver a mind-blowing 50Mbit/s download and 20Mbit/s upload. The catch: you practically have to live on the doorstep to your local phone exchange to get the full effect. Beyond 1.5km, and speed drops to ADSL2+ level (which is why fibre optic cable will ultimately overwhelm all such attempts to goose the speed of our old copper. Read more about Vector's plans to lay a suburb fibre optic cable network, plus more on VDSL, here).