Olympic dreams tied to the network

Behind all the Olympics hype, Telstra is plugging away at one of the largest networking integration jobs in the country.

Significantly, it's a project that cements the carrier's role as possibly the largest single enterprise solution provider in the country.

Telstra recently demonstrated what it calls the Telstra Millennium Network to the media in an effort to demonstrate what it claims showcases Australia's ability to apply technology to the online world.

The telecommunications monolith is sinking millions into the creation of the voice, data, audio and video network to broadcast the Games to billions of people around the world. "It's critical, true project management," explained John Hunter, Telstra's general manager, Sydney 2000 Olympics.

The project places Telstra in a unique position where it not only owns the communications infrastructure, but is conducting the project management itself, juggling the needs of organisations such as SOCOG and the Olympic Coordination Authority with various Olympic venues.

The network must also interface with the data processing conducted on IBM hardware.

Significantly, Telstra reports it is not using other service providers or systems integrators because of the project's sheer size and complexity.

"It's critical, true project management," explained John Hunter, Telstra's general manager, Sydney 2000 Olympics.

The network itself uses 4800 kilometres of optic fibre cabling which links into Telstra's national network, international satellites and underwater cables.

The majority of the infrastructure is already in place at venues like Sydney's Olympic Park, with some of it being used during the cluster of "test" events held in September.

Hunter said the network is also being constructed across sites around the country to provide services after the Olympics.

"We are not just building this for 17 days [of the games]," he said.

Hunter explained that Telstra will use the equipment to support the infrastructure needs of large companies and to increase the level of service offered to rural areas.

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