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Jetstream Breaks New Speed And Coverage Barriers

Telecom’s fast Internet service JetStream has crashed through new barriers - hitting speeds of up to an average 75 times faster than a standard dial-up Internet service, and reaching about 60% of Telecom's customers.

Telecom expects to make JetStream available to 75% of all customers by the end of 2002. The ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) technology that drives JetStream has the potential to hit speeds of up to an average 200 times faster than dial-up in the future.

Telecom has run fresh tests on the network as the company finishes upgrading customers' JetStream modems to match a new international standard for ADSL technology.

The figures are based on the time it takes to download a large file from a server on Telecom's ADSL network, rather than a server on the Internet, to avoid the variables of the web such as the time of day and number of people trying to access a site.

“These tests show our ADSL-enabled telephone exchanges are now delivering speeds averaging 3 megabits per second, and our minimum service target is still a very fast 2 megabits per second," Telecom’s General Manager, Data and Voice, Mark Ratcliffe said.

"However the link from the customer to their exchange has the capacity to run at an average 8 megabits per second and we have the potential to engineer the rest of the network to match that in the future. That's about twice as much speed as you need to deliver broadcast quality rather than Internet quality video," he said.

"We're delighted at the way these tests reveal that the investment and the care Telecom has taken in engineering this country's standard copper telephone network over the last few decades is now bearing fruit in the broadband era.

"The interesting picture emerging is that the ADSL technology allows us to connect an average 95% of customers on JetStream exchanges who ask for the service, so the distance a customer lives from their exchange is not such a factor as we first thought," Mr Ratcliffe said.

The JetStream service will sign up it's 10,000th customer this month, and sales are now growing at an average 24% per month.

"People are opting for JetStream at a rate of 60 to 80 a day, and as more come on board we will invest to extend coverage still further. Right now it's available to around half our residential customers, two-thirds of our business customers and three-quarters of our corporate customers," Mr Ratcliffe said.

“ADSL gives each customer an individual link with the exchange, so the speeds they get are not affected by the bandwidth demands of their neighbours – it’s like the difference between having your own phone line and using a party line.

"People also like the fact that with JetStream their broadband service is always on, allows them to use them phone at the same time, and is simple to install," Mr Ratcliffe said.

By the end of this month JetStream will be enabled on 80 exchanges in 13 metropolitan and provincial centres - Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Napier, Hastings, Wanganui, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin.

By Christmas ADSL will be enabled on a further 5 exchanges, including those in Queenstown and Whangarei.

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