news National broadband provider Internode this week said its intention was, where possible, to eventually migrate all customers using ADSL infrastructure from rival wholesale providers Optus and Telstra to infrastructure owned by its new parent iiNet, as part of a “highest-priority” project following its acquisition.
iiNet announced it would buy Internode just days before Christmas, in a deal which has addded some 190,000 broadband subscribers and some 260,000 active services to iiNet’s already extensive customer base, vaulting the company into clear second place in Australia’s ADSL broadband market, ahead of Optus. The deal also extends iiNet’s current ADSL infrastructure and has seen Internode managing director Simon Hackett (pictured) become a major iiNet shareholders.
While many of Internode customers have been using its own ADSL infrastructure in telephone exchanges (these systems are known as DSL multiplexers, or DSLAMs), many have also been using infrastructure owned by Optus or Telstra, through wholesale arrangements. Using this infrastructure has been necessary in exchanges where Internode did not have its own DSLAMs, but delivers less features for customers and less profit for Internode.
In a post on broadband forum Whirlpool this week, Internode managing director Simon Hackett responded to a customer question about whether their broadband connection will be shifted off an Optus DSLAM during the iiNet/Internode migration and shifted onto an iiNet DSLAM.
“Quite likely (and certainly the intention), i.e. to migrate all customers we can migrate to Chime/iiNet ports where they are present and available and where direct Agile/Internode ports aren’t,” responded Hackett. “That project is part of what is pretty much our highest priority customer-facing integration project.”
However, the executive added, the migrations “may not be instant” because there were “quite a large number of them”, and there were limits to the speed at which exchange owner Telstra could implement the “bulk migrations” to iiNet’s infrastructure.
“Also, for various (partly wholesale contractual) reasons, customers who have been on Telstra or Optus ports for less than 12 months may not get migrated until the 12 month point,” he said. “These are things we have yet to fully explore – meantime we’re running full steam ahead on the actual integration/migration enabling process.”
Once the integration of key iiNet and Internode infrastructure is complete, however, Hackett noted all new customers signing up to Internode would be allocated onto iiNet infrastructure as a preference, ahead of Optus or Telstra infrastructure.
The practical implications for customers from being migrated is that they will gain access to certain technical features not available through Telstra’s wholesale network — such as the ability to gain higher upload speeds through the Annex M specification, as well as the ability to sign up to the full FetchTV IPTV service offered by iiNet and Internode.
Hackett noted there was a great deal of technical compatibility between the iiNet and Internode hardware in exchanges. “The nice thing about the Chime/iiNet ports is that they are identical hardware to Internode’s existing ports – so in feature set terms, we are working, obviously, toward the goal of 100% feature parity where you wind up on one of those ports (so that it ‘feels’ exactly like a native Internode port and works the same way in practice),” he said.
“We do have internal projections on the timeframe for enabling Internode customer access to Chime/iiNet ports and for then commencing migrations, but I don’t want to publish them here because of a tendency for some folk on whirlpool not to understand the difference between the terms ‘working estimate’ and ‘ironclad guarantee’. I will say again, however, that its a high priority for us, that all the pieces of that puzzle are already available to us, and that this work has already commenced.”
Image credit: Internode