Telstra releases ‘Top Hat’ project details


blog We’ve received the following statement from Telstra regarding its ‘Top-Hat’ project. I don’t want to write a full article about this because the details have been available for some time — this isn’t news. However, if you’re interested in the statement, it is below :)

“Many more Australian homes and businesses (potentially up to 200,000 customers depending on takeup) will gain access to fast fixed-line broadband speeds, with Telstra upgrading local ADSL2+ infrastructure.

Telstra is integrating new technology ‘top hats’ into the existing street cabinets that deliver telephone services to local residents and businesses. Until now these cabinets have not been able to support ADSL2+ technology due to physical constraints. In the past, to permanently increase the broadband capacity of a street side cabinet, we had to build another cabinet alongside the existing one. This could take months of planning and network construction activities, whereas the ‘top hat’ is essentially bolting ADSL2+ equipment on top of an existing street side cabinet.

This means that we are quickly and efficiently able to make ADSL2+ services available to many households and small businesses that previously could not access a fixed broadband service.

The installation of a top hat is part of a nationwide infrastructure investment where approximately 2000 top hats will be installed. Telstra is also upgrading the transmission backhaul to these cabinets to Gigabit Ethernet backhaul which will remove potential bottlenecks in the network. This work will take place over the next 18 months.

Telstra continues to build on investment in innovative communications solutions across the county to bring faster broadband speeds and improved technology where possible. The upgrade will support our customers’ growing interest in connecting up household devices and screens to the internet so that they can enjoy information and entertainment on demand. The extra capacity will make it easier for households to stream video, access their favourite internet sites and work from home.

Residents can contact Telstra BigPond on 13POND or visit their local store for further information. Details of future areas to be upgraded with a top hat can be found on


  • The new ports will be available to Telstra customers and those of wholesale customers who resell Telstra ADSL
  • The first 900 locations for Top Hats currently is being finalised
  • Locations where NBN rollout is imminent or on the roadmap for the near future will not be getting Top Hat technology. It is an interim technology to provide fast broadband pending NBN rollout.

Update: Telstra has a blog post up on the Top Hats, and a video demonstrating the upgrade and its development history:


  1. So Telstra is finally trumpeting a decision to install what the competitive carriers (Internode in particular) wanted to install 5 years ago but were blocked from doing by Telstra.

    • Internode were going to install their own street cabinets and were blocked by Telstra?

      • Yes, they did try- they wanted to do at least one or two as a trail on RIMs that only had ADSL1 ports & Internode had fibre nearby anyway but Telstra refused.

          • I can’t find all of the discussion about it (it has come up several times) but one comment is here:

            That comment (from, you’ll note, 2006) shows Internode has tried to do so. Later info covered the “top hat” solution which Internode spoke about as it was available in europe a while ago, again they were refused.

          • ok thanks, so it’s really about Internode wanting to put their gear in a Telstra RIM cabinet and Telstra saying its full, as distinct from Internode installing their own cabinet.

          • (to alain) no. They wanted to install their own cabinet (originally) & tie into the copper CAN but were refused. Then they tried to suggest the top-hat style larger cabinet that sits over the existing RIM but that was refused as well.

  2. Clearly telstra don’t think the copper network is going to be shut down or they wouldn’t be spending this sort of money on it

    • I believe it to be quite the opposite, the more customers Telstra can grab now, the more customers they have to push over to the NBN as it rolls out to that area or the ability to charge a user if they want to go with a different provider because they’ll be breaking a contract (potentially).

      • Unfortunately I think there is a big cloud over the future of the NBN and we wont have any certianity until the next federal election.

        • Well if Labour win there will be certainty, business as usual. Liberal? Planning, commitee, panel, study, more talk, oh look it’s the next election and nothing’s been done.

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