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Broadband technologies - afternoon briefing in Melbourne

Date: Friday, 2 March 2007
Venue: Allens Arthur Robinson, Level 34, 530 Collins Street, Melbourne

Given the unprecedented level of interest and controversy about broadband, the Institute offered a briefing on the competing technologies by Network Insight's Senior Researcher, Peter Darling, an internationally experienced expert.

This briefing aimed to help participants understand the various broadband pathways and concepts such as xDSL, FTTx, WiMax, NextG, and NGN. 

1.   The briefing consisted of explanation and analysis by Peter Darling, followed by questions and discussion of each of the broadband topics.
2.   Each participant was given the special Broadband double issue of the Telecommunications Journal of Australia as an illustrated reference text.
3.   People registered were encouraged to email questions in advance of the briefing to:

A.  Today's consumer broadband

    - Over the copper telephone network:
a) DSL from the Telstral exchange - what can be provided, what are the limits and what equipment is needed.
b) DSL from a "node" - what does this mean and how does it link to telephone network developments?
    - Over the HFC (pay TV) network
    - At a user's premises

B.  Broadband via radio: niche or major alternative?
    - WiFi
    - WiMax
    - Cellular networks

C.  Fibre to the user
    a) components of a FTTP network
    b) how a FTTN network is different
    c) which services must have fibre?

D.  Using IP-based broadband
    - Internet based services, from web browsing to video download
    - Other broadband services (telephony, IP television, "NGN")

About the Presenter:
Peter Darling has had wide experience in communications network planning, and associated areas of technology.  He has worked on the development of communications standards at the national and international level in organisations such as ACIF, the ITU, ETSI, the IETF and ASTAP.

He was the founding Chair of the ACIF Network Reference Panel, developing standards for the Interworking of networks in a multi-network environment, and associated technologies such as DSL.  He lead ACIF's Next Generation Network Project, the seminal Australian work on the development of full-service broadband that set the basis for current developments in broadband and Internet Telephony (VoIP).  He recently completed a term as the Rapporteur for NGN at the Asia-Pacific standards body, ASTAP.

Until his retirement from Telstra in May 2000 he led Telstra's work on technical regulation.  Since that time he has worked as Principal of Pondarosa Communications Pty Ltd, on projects for clients including the ACA/ACMA, ACIF, the ACCC, Multimedia Victoria, DCITA and the Productivity Commission. 

Peter's ability to look through the alphabet soup of communications technology to show the underlying essential concepts has been demonstrated in his consultancy work, his work with Network Insight and in his award-winning series of articles in the Telecommunications Journal of Australia.

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