Telstra unveils submarine cable to US

The terabit-capacity cable, due for completion next year, will greatly boost connectivity

Telstra has unveiled the beginning of an international connectivity strategy with the announcement of a new wholly-owned submarine cable connecting Australia to the US.

Telstra chief operations officer Greg Winn says the 9000km Sydney to Hawaii submarine cable is the largest ever built and owned by an Australian company.

“It will allow increased data, voice and video transmission capability to the US while significantly reducing Australia’s reliance on foreign-owned companies in order to compete globally,” Winn says.

The submarine cable will provide transmission capacity of 1.28 Terabit/s to Hawaii where it will interconnect with other cables providing direct access to the US mainland.

Telstra already owns capacity in these links to the US but currently purchases international transmission capacity from suppliers that are wholly or partially-owned by foreign competitors.

“Around 65% of all internet content today is coming from the US, so this cable is really another example of Telstra keeping Australia at the forefront and connected to the rest of the world,” Winn says.

“Owning the infrastructure that provides this vital connection to Australia enables Telstra to deliver additional network capacity and reliability to our retail and wholesale customers, and will maximise returns for shareholders when we re-route traffic from existing routes owned by competitors.”

Increased network capacity will benefit customers who use data-rich services such as telecommuting, videoconferencing and mobile video applications.

“Also, internet users will benefit from greater security and speed when accessing US-based information online via high-speed data networks such as Telstra’s Next G network or BigPond,” Winn says, adding that Telstra will also be able to expand its end-to-end service offering that ranges from IP, mobile and intelligent network services to voice and data hubs, callcentres and advanced multimedia as well as e-commerce applications.

“This cable provides a vital link to the world-wide web, but for Australia to be able to compete globally, regulatory reform is urgently needed to facilitate the rollout of a high-speed FTTN broadband network,” he says.

Alcatel-Lucent will build and lay the cable and the project is expected to be completed by mid-2008.

The cable will be long enough to circle Australia 1.5 times and in addition to the customer benefits, will also support Telstra’s IP network transformation.

Jean Godeluck, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s submarine network activity, says Alcatel-Lucent has been undertaking undersea projects with Telstra since the early 1990s, including the installation of submarine systems in the Bass Strait between Tasmania and Victoria.

Late last year Telstra announced a works programme for its fixed network transformation in 2006/07 which involved a A$460 million (NZ$519 million) partnership with Alcatel.

Under the programme, Telstra will move to the next phase of its IP network transformation, which will deliver leading-edge services to 5.3 million Telstra customers over the next five years.

By mid-2007 Alcatel will establish an IP network footprint in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, supplying and deploying IP-DSLAMS, ethernet aggregation and optical networking solutions.

Telstra has also established an Integration Laboratory in Australia, managed by Alcatel, which undertakes end-to-end testing of next generation technology to enable smooth integration into Telstra’s network.

Alcatel-Lucent is also a major supplier to Telecom New Zealand and is working on Telecom’s next generation all-IP network.

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