Australia's going all-in with its government-run fiber network. The government has now convinced the country's dominant telco, Telstra, to sign on with the scheme, get rid of its copper and cable lines, and transition its subscribers to the open-access national fiber program. When the project is complete, Australia will have taken an almost unprecedented step for a country of its size: legacy telecommunications infrastructure will be almost gone.
Although Australia had planned to move forward with its AUS$43 billion fiber network with or without Telstra, Telstra's decision to join the party is a significant one—the company could have held out and fought to keep its customers from defecting to fiber, setting the stage for a long platform war. In the end, though, there just weren't many benefits to doing this; a recent report from McKinsey and KPMG reemphasized the fact that the new fiber buildout would "accelerate the evolution of the industry," and it would be hard to compete with open-access fiber-to-the-home on speed.
I've been on fiber for many years now in Japan. I was the first in my neighborhood to get it. It's made a big difference in my connection speeds. Not only does it carry my Internet connection, but also my phone and TV all comes into the house on the same fiber.
I'm starting to hear some other theories about this, and they're a bit more sinister.
According to some this ties into Australia's government plans to filter the web [webmasterworld.com]. If Telstra gives up all its cable infrastructure to the government then the backbone of the AU internet is going to be completely controlled by the government. They could then censor/filter anything and everything they want.