Airservices sinks $4m into microwave network upgrade

Airservices Australia is upgrading its digital microwave network after awarding Alcatel the contract to supply it with more than $4 million in equipment and services.

The move follows the ACCC's decision to auction parts of the analog-dominated 1.8GHz band radio network, giving the air traffic services provider the opportunity to upgrade to the 13GHz band.

The upgraded network is designed to provide voice and data circuits between the TAAATS (the Australian Advanced Air Traffic System) air traffic control centres and remote air-ground-air communications outlets and radar sites.

This also includes network links in South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

The company reports Alcatel is tomorrow expected to begin local "factory acceptance testing" of its Melodie range of digital microwave links and customer access nodes.

Bernie Hackett, Airservices Australia's project manager, said part of this testing included Y2K compliance checks. "The contractor has warranted that the equipment does conform to year 2000," he said.

Airservices Australia staff will conduct the network rollout, with most of the work expected for completion around June 1999.

Hackett said most of the dominant network equipment providers contested the deal, with Alcatel selected as the cheapest package of products and services.

He said an advantage of the new system is the ability to offer remote administration and management functions for the centrally-located network management team.

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More about Airservices AustraliaAlcatel-LucentAustralian Competition and Consumer CommissionDigital Microwave

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