Australia’s Telstra to compensate 42,000 customers amid ongoing NBN saga
Telstra, Australia’s largest telco, has agreed to offer compensation to approximately 42,000 customers after it advertised higher than delivered broadband speeds.
The deals involved surround the company’s National Broadband Network (NBN) packages. NBN, a state-owned enterprise charged with overseeing the rollout of fast broadband nationwide, has been blighted by cost and political issues since the project was conceived in 2009.
Among these deals offered by Telstra were a ‘Super Fast Speed Boost’ which advertised maximum download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) and maximum upload speeds of up to 40 Mbps (100/40 Mbps).
Limitations on the affected customers’ NBN fibre to the node (FTTN) or fibre to the building (FTTB) internet connections, however, meant that many customers’ internet services were not capable of receiving the maximum advertised speeds of the plans.
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Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Sims said: “All businesses have a responsibility to ensure that claims about the performance of their products or services are accurate. This is particularly important in cases where consumers sign long-term contracts to acquire a service. Telecommunications contracts are typically 12-24 months in duration and this can represent a serious financial commitment.”
A breakdown of the affected customers shows that:
- 26,497 (56%) of FTTN customers on the 100/40 Mbps plan could not receive 100/40 Mbps. Of those customers, 9,606 could not receive 50/20 Mbps, which was the next speed tier plan down.
- 6,352 (45%) of FTTN customers on a 50/20 Mbps plan could not receive 50/20 Mbps.
- 9,342 (2%) of FTTN customers on a 25/5 Mbps plan could not receive 25/5 Mbps.
Another cause of the failure to deliver advertised speeds is the under-purchasing of capacity by telcos from the NBN network. However, the cost of purchasing additional capacity has been cited by several retailers as being unviable – this is one of the major arguments derailing the progress of the rollout.
Thales Group to Provide Tech for Low Earth Orbit Satellites
The Franco-Italian aerospace manufacturer, Thales Alenia, which specialises in the space industry is set to supply the world’s only network of satellites in low earth orbit (LEO) with its industry-leading technology. More specifically, the Optical Inter-Satellite Links ─ which is hailed as the ‘best technology for the next generation of the Galileo Navigation System’, by the European Space Agency. Through the implementation of Thales Alenia’s optical systems, the satellite network will be able to provide global, fine-scale coverage, overland, oceans, and both poles, without compromising the security of data communications.
Telesat, a Canadian satellite services company, is currently developing the network and has commissioned Thales Alenia Space to build its broadband constellation. The network, which will be named Lightspeed, will apparently comprise 298 individual satellites, each weighing roughly 700 kilograms. These satellites will be capable of delivering multiple terabits per second worldwide for secure broadband professional services with low latency and high levels of performance. Ergo, it’ll be incredibly fast.
‘The Optical Inter Satellite Links technology is based on Thales Alenia Space’s product line Space Optical Communications, i.e., OPTEL-C. The more compact OPTEL-µ is another optical communications product from this line. This is particularly good for downloading data from small LEO satellites’, according to Innovation Origins.
Thales Alenia Space Background
Thales Alenia Space is the largest satellite manufacturer in Europe ─ the Swiss branch, which has been commissioned in this particular announcement, opened up five years ago in Zurich, where the company primarily specialises in the development and manufacture of instruments for scientific satellites, but also on optical communication terminals for space applications.
The Swiss Space Sector
When it comes to the European and international space industry, the Swiss sector is becoming increasingly important. Approximately 100 Swiss companies already produce incredibly sophisticated pieces of kit and technologies for space missions, and Switzerland also plays host to the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre, which was established back in 2016 in an effort to help entrepreneurs ‘realise their innovative ideas and transfer technologies from space to Earth and from Earth to space.’