25 Oct 2011
By Mike Wright

Telstra will start rolling out Top Hats in November


Sometimes all you need is a person with a bright idea to solve a problem that has been affecting many. Earlier this year one of the NAT engineers, Darryl Dux, was idling at some traffic lights, and noticed a box mounted on top of the traffic light cabinet and had a light bulb moment. This doesn’t sound too amazing, but this observation is going to bring fixed broadband to many homes and businesses that could never have it before.

Telstra has approximately 5000 street side cabinets across Australia, mainly in housing estates that were developed in the late 1980’s – early 1990’s, that provide telecommunications services to the streets surrounding them. As they were installed before the internet was an everyday accessory, they weren’t designed to deliver broadband access.

Typically each cabinet can support up to 480 telephone services. Some we’ve been able to fit with ADSL technology, however only 120 services could be supported by some cabinets, and some cabinets could not support ADSL at all.

Darryl’s bright idea was to install ADSL2+ equipment on top of the existing street side cabinets but it took a lot more than this to turn this into reality. Telstra and Alcatel-Lucent engineers had to solve complex equipment cooling and cabinet upgrade challenges to make this process quick, economic and have minimal impact on existing customers. We even went as far as building the first prototypes inside an industrial toolbox to test the system end to end, this sped up our engineering processes and took up to 12 months off the time to get this solution up and running.

Dubbed a ‘Top Hat’ this new equipment means we’re now able to deliver ADSL2+ fixed broadband to all homes and businesses that are connected to an upgraded street side cabinet. It sounds simple now that we’ve come up with the idea, but will make a huge change to people who will be able to access video streaming, digital business and connected home services for the first time over a fixed broadband connection.

Telstra will start rolling out Top Hats in November, to approximately 2000 street side cabinets and expect the project to be completed within 18 months. At the same time we’ll be replacing the connection from the street side cabinet to Telstra’s core network with Gigabit Ethernet fibre. This sounds very technical, but in reality means that customers will get the best speeds possible from their ADSL2+ service, and will experience less contention even when many users are on their fixed broadband at one time.

In addition to having fixed broadband it means many customers will also now be able to take advantage of Telstra’s popular home phone bundles, making it a very economical way to access high speed broadband. As Telstra installs Top Hats into local areas, we’ll be letting the local communities know. You can see if your area is scheduled for an upgrade in the next few months by visiting

To see how Darryl’s idea came to life, watch this video.

Top Hats Updates Spreadsheet


Posts: 38


  1. Tom says:

    the tophat says that my area has already been upgraded but i still can not get adsl at victoria sunshine west. is there a reason why i cant get it?

  2. Peter says:

    I have seen the tophat instaled localy (Newhaven Vic) and seen the fibre optic guys there to connect it around 3 weeks ago yet the list still shows it not operational. Is there still more to be done or just lacking the paper work?

  3. Steve says:

    Hi all,

    This audio interview is very informative for those interested in tophats.

    Mike Wright, Executive Director Telstra Networks (the one in charge J) did an interview today. Click on the link. From about the two minute mark it’s Mike and Top Hats.


  4. Kathy says:

    My area, Woonona East (Pioneer Beach Estate) NSW, is not even on the list and we cannot get ADSL2 -- what is the story?

  5. Justin says:

    We need ADSL at the Kelsey Creek exchange in Qld! Please Telstra upgrade it and the crappy copper wire :(

  6. Bane says:

    For anyone trying to get to the coverage maps you CAN with a little lateral thinking.

    This is the download location.

    Find the entry in the tophat.xls sheet you want a map for, and copy the map reference data from the cell. Don’t click on the link as that won’t take you anywhere useful.

    So say for CABO-CA77-Area-Layout.pdf -- add this to the end of the above URL eg

    And there is your map.

  7. Janine says:

    Hello, they are working on a Top Hat a couple of streets away from my house and I have been advised we will be able to get adsl2 shortly (by the techs on site). Just wondering if it definately means we will be able to get it if we have pair gain lines? We currently have adsl through telstra but I’m not sure if having the Pair GAined lines mean we won’t be able to take advantage of the Top Hat? Thanks,
    Janine from Beaumont Hills, NSW.

  8. Yesh Enjeti says:

    I was reviewing the spreadsheet that provides information on areas that will be covered by top hat but I find some time back some of the areas that were included initially withdrawn on 31st. August 2012 Is there any reason why …. However I saw some techs going around checking cables in all the areas marked by the following maps, which were removed from the list on 31st. August 2012 :
    CAST Castle Hill NSW 2154 347;400;403;404;428 CAST-CA29-Area-Layout.pdf CAST-CA29-Map-CAST-DA403.pdf CAST-CA29-Map-CAST-DA400.pdf CAST-CA29-Map-CAST-DA347.pdf CAST-CA29-Map-CAST-DA404.pdf CAST-CA29-Map-CAST-DA428.pdf

    Can some one please respond with the reasons. Your response is highly appreciated. Thanks.

  9. Steve Parry says:

    My DSLAM SAODCA13 in Samford, QLD has been showing as an ASD of 14 September 2012, however Telstra Sales (by phone) are still saying that ADSL2 is not available in my area, with no plans to do so.

    Can someone from Telstra please explain why the discrepancy in stories? What’s the holdup?

    If the equipment is in service, you would think that Telstra would be keen to sell the new services…

  10. Ajay says:

    Is there anyone from Telstra on this board? I can see a Top Hat rollout date for Liverpool DA613 of November 2012. The bigpond call centre don’t have any information for me about tophat upgrades, but is this still on track?


  11. Tina says:

    We’re living in Forest Lake. They told us 2 years ago that they had adsl around my house. However, it has never happened. Then the new wifi 4g is coming up. We got it but it is still slow compare to adsl. When can adsl available in our area?

  12. Phillip says:


    Can I please find out when or if tophat with take place in East Perth, WA 6004, as we can only access ADSL 1 and as we are operating a small business we need to upgrade to ADSL 2. If no tophat for 6004, then is there another solution?

    Thank you.

  13. Aaron Mason says:


    The sheet is supposed to be updated regularly but it seems this week’s been missed due to Christmas. Will we have to wait another week for another update? The wholesale site told me that my area would have ADSL2(+) by the end of December 2012, which is but days away… After being able to get ADSL2 on the other side of town it’s a little aggravating being stuck on ADSL1.


  14. Shaun says:

    Dear Brendan,
    It is great to see someone from telstra being so helpful, and it what a great idea about the top hats. I have just contacted TPG to see if I can get an ADSL2+ connection but they have informed me that I am on a RIM.
    Is it true that I may be able to get an ADSL2+ connection through telstra as they can transposition the RIM? Not quite sure what that means, but it sounds like a good option for me!
    I checked and the map tells me that there are no ports available in my street Windemere cres, Varsity Lakes, it mentions RBNA-DA026, is this a RIM?

    The last time someone from telstra told me that there were no ports vailable in my street I insisted they send a technician out to have a look, the technician came out the next day and said there were lots of ports to choose from and I was connected within days. Any help you can give me would be much appreciated!

  15. Corbor says:

    i moved to the area exchange KRGL and I’m had to go from ADSL+2 to ADSL , was told there no room on the for mine ,So when would the exchange be upgrade to deal with ADSL+2

  16. Ben says:

    GNVE-DA023 Exchange

    Will this be top-hat enabled any time soon?

    DA021 & DA022 are both on the list. This being a newish area would be great. Just moved here and so angry and disappointed with the move process form Telstra and now im stuck on ADSL 1

  17. Ian says:

    What are the chances of getting one of these for grandis way, yakamia, albany?… We are literally 1 street over from area 76 and by the looks of it are not being covered. If it was a matter of price im sure the street could muster it up as it is one of the wealthiest streets in albany and we have been wanting adsl2+ for years now.

    • Gigi [Telstra Staff] says:

      Hi Ian,

      Unfortunately the Top Hat program has now been completed. I’ll pass the feedback onto the business though.

  18. Ben says:

    I wish it was cost and telstra would advertise the cost. If we knew how many homes the rim served and a cost we could go to out local community and get the funding to get this happening..

    I wonder if anyone from telstra is actually reading this and will be able to comment

    • Gigi [Telstra Staff] says:

      Hi Ben,

      Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, the Top Hat program has now been completed.

  19. Peter says:

    Hi Brendan,

    i have recently moved into the williams landing estate in west of melbourne, ive been trying to get internet connection for at least 2 months now, and each time i submit an order, telstra always come back and say there are no ports available at the exchange, will you be able to tell me if and when either the exchange will be upgraded or a top hat will be installed.



    • Az [Telstra Community Manager] says:

      Hi Peter,
      I don’t have any specific information regarding any planned expansion or upgrade work but if you check in with our Live Chat team through, I’m sure they will be able to let you know whether there are free ports before you place an order.

  20. Neil says:

    I have recently relocated to Forest Lake in Brisbane from Melbourne and advised by Telstra I cannot get ADLS. I then went to another another provider who connected me.
    I have just received an item in the mail for ‘Fast, Reliable Broadband’ for less than $2.20 a day.
    As this item was specifically addressed to my address I now expect I can get ‘Fast, Reliable Broadband’ at my address. Somehow I don’t believe I can and if I can’t then this will be a case for the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman ( Therefore please confirm Telstra can supply ‘Fast, Reliable Broadband’ to Fitzroy Place in Forest Lake as stated in your mailed item received approx 21st May 2013.

    • Az [Telstra Community Manager] says:

      Hi Neil,
      Thanks for the comment. You’re not quite in the right forum to confirm Telstra’s broadband speeds. Best thing to do is to speak to one of our customer service consultants via one of the above links who can run a line test and speak to you about your options.

    • Neil says:

      Problem is Az… everytime I speak with Telstra I get a different answer. No one owns a problem or query these days as it just goes into a bucket and if it’s too hard then it either gets fobbed off to someone else or ‘an answer’ is given whether it be correct or not. The person answering the query does not need to deal directly with the client and there is better odds at winning PowerBall than speaking with the same Telstra person again.
      So can you guarantee I can be assigned a person to look at my query from start to finish? If you can then I would like to speak with that person asap.
      Also, the point I am making with my original query is that Telstra tell me I can’t get ADSL when discussing on phone although another provider can give me ADLS using Telstra services (off net) and then Telstra address marketing material to my home address saying apply for fast broadband. As it is addressed to my home address and not just generic material it is a sure sign that Telstra can supply ADSL to this address which in reality is really a load of tripe. I was giving Telstra the opportunity to reddem themselves to pick this up and resolve but looks like another ‘pass-the-buck’ move is in play…

      • Az [Telstra Community Manager] says:

        Hi Neil,
        I am really not sure what you are expecting of me here. Are you making a point or are you asking someone to follow up why you received the promotional material when you’ve been told that Telstra is unable to supply ADSL to your address? Do you have another issue you wish to speak to us about?

        May I suggest that you send through your details to our team here: and a team member will be assigned to your query. While there is a response time of around 3-5 business days at the moment, one person will be assigned to your request and you are able to communicate with the person that you answers you, so you don’t have to deal with multiple people.

  21. Mick Nicholls says:

    In defense of Telstra/Bigpond I would like to say that yes they don’t always get things right and don’t always get things done in the timeframe we would like but in my case they get it done. When we built our new home down here in te rural village of Gundaroo we naturally put in an application for our phone to be transferred from our old urban service to our new house. They came out and checked everything and then found out that there was no spare cable comming into the village so they could not supply me with a cabled land line however they said they would provide a FIXED wireless service and this would all be at the same cost for installation and usage as that charged for a cabled land line. The only problem is that I also have a fixed wireless broadband service and this wont be changed untill the new NBN comes to the village (and this is not planned for happening in my lifetime) however they worked damn hard in getting me on line where the other telcos could not care less about helping us as they don’t service the area. So you metro people may have some problems but Telstra will work to helping if they can so I am happy as I at least have some service, not happy with the cost $109 for 15 gig ( we are pensioners) where you can get 50 gig for half that price but at least they got us connected so they may be slow but they will help if it is possible.

  22. Ben Winters says:


    I have to disagree. Telstra / Bigpond are incompetent!! There is no question of this. I moved twice in 3 months and both times they stuffed up. Moved from Perth to Cairns and gave alomst a months notice and when we arrived nothing was connected like promised then it took another 21 days and 13 phone calls to sort out. Then we moved out of that rental into a house we bought 4 streets away (less than 100m) and again gave 14 days notice and it wasnt completed then spoke with 61 People and was placed on hold 87 times and transfered to other departments 45 times (Yes i wrote them all down for the telecommunications ombudsman) and it took a further 14 days after we moved to get a service. And even when the phone got connected they some how managed to disconnected it 3 times trying to provision ADSL.

    Wireless BB or phone isnt an option as Telstra only have 1 Bar of 3G coverage here (Optus and Vodafone both have 3-4)

    Needless to say my experience over both moves was disgraceful. Because it happened so bad twice this leads me to believe in systemic failures in Telstra Internal Systems

    Once Telstra finally connected us (And Re COntracted us without asking) we churned to IINET. It may still be on telstra infrastructure but i never have to deal with Telstra’s terrible customer service and arrogance of its call centre staff not wanting to help ever again

    • Az [Telstra Community Manager] says:

      Hi Ben,
      Sorry to hear about your experience, this is completely unacceptable. Is your BigPond now connected and fully working?

  23. Ben says:

    Yes the Internet is now working. The day we connected we churned all our services to iinet because of the experience.

    Now I’m stuck on adsl 1 as my rim doesn’t support adsl2 cause telstra won’t upgrade the rim!!!!

    Sucks to be Stuck behind a monopoly.

  24. Helen says:

    Hi Brendan, I have just moved to a relatively new estate and am having the biggest dramas trying to get internet and then today I am told of this RIM?? So confused!! Can you please help me as all the places need to connect me before they can give me any further information?

    Gizelle Street, Caboolture QLD 4510

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hi Helen, I’m really sorry to hear that you’re having trouble connecting. Have you contact customer support on 13 2200? They will be able to advise further on this issue. Sorry I can’t help more! Thanks, Jamie.

  25. scott belzner says:

    How do we find out about oxenford (pacific pines) with these top hats?
    bigpond dont even know if there are any spaces in the rim just 800m down the road

  26. Mike says:

    Will the laverton victoria exchange be upgraded soon. It is at maximum capacity at the moment. It’s frustrating.

  27. Chandrakant says:

    When ADSL2+ will be available on Glenfield road Glenfield. NBN has confirmed they are not going to upgrade this road. We have always get an answer far away from Liverpool exchange. Can any Telstra officer look in to it and address it?

  28. Chandrakant says:

    Thanks Jamie. Now that NBN also informed me they are not upgrading my area. Hence there is only ADSL2+ that need to be made available and only Telstra can do that. Could you please help me on this?

  29. Scott says:

    Now that the NBN is toast how do I find out what will be happening to upgrade my ADSL1 RIM service here in Grays Point, Sutherland NSW 2232?

    I work from home and was banking on the NBN upgrade scheduled to start in 2014 in this area, but what happens now?

  30. Chandrakant says:

    The website only caters for mobile broadband do not accept for ADSL2+ internet coverage. Who is supposed to make ADSL2+ available when NBN do not want to service?

  31. sanddweller says:

    I’m in SamfordQLD (SAOD), but not one of the previously published ‘topHat’ zones13,15,18,23,31.

    My ADSL2+ still sucks. I’m 4km from the exchange and lucky to get 3Mbs down, if sync stays up. (I’ve been overseas for the past 3y, with 40Mbps VDSL, and 3Mbs feels like the old 150/300bps acoustic coupler I used to use back in 1985! )

    Are there any further ‘topHat’ rollouts expected to other ‘edge areas? I reckon at least 1/2 if not more of the people in my street would pay to cover at least the labour cost to do this!

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