Internode prepares Victor Harbor expansion

New backhaul to southern coast provides opportunity for DSLAM growth among smaller providers

Internet service providers are awaiting the final link between new fibre backhaul in regional South Australia and Telstra exchanges in order to provide competitive ADSL services in Victor Harbor and surrounding towns.

Fibre backhaul provider, Nextgen Networks, this week completed the $12.6 million, 129 kilometre link to Victor Harbor and six additional towns, including the National Broadband Network mainland site of Willunga.

The link, part of the Federal Government’s $250 million Regional Broadband Blackspot Program (RBBP) tender awarded to Nextgen last year, is expected to serve approximately 27,000 residents in the towns.

However, unlike the Perth to Geraldton link launched last week with iiNet subsidiary Westnet, the Victor Harbor backhaul was launched with no service providers attached.

Simon Hackett, chief executive of Adelaide-based service provider Internode, told Computerworld Australia the company had already completed talks with Nextgen and had the necessary DSLAM equipment ready for operation in both Victor Harbor and nearby Strathalbyn.

However, both were awaiting a final, 150 metre link between the backhaul point of interconnect and actual equipment inside Telstra exchanges.

“The Nextgen fibre build that has arrived, as reported, outside the front door of the exchange,” he said in an email. “As soon as Telstra let Nextgen run the last 150 metres of fibre in their exchange access duct, we'll be able to turn our services on.”

Nextgen chief executive, Phil Sykes, confirmed a connection from backhaul to Telstra exchanges was in the work, and connections with ISPs were ongoing.

The Internode services have been months in the making, according to Hackett. It would allow the service provider to extend its own Agile network to the regional towns, providing additional ADSL services currently aren’t available to Internode customers connected to Telstra or Optus-owned equipment.

An Agile-enabled exchange in the regional town of Goolwa is also in the works.

Hackett also confirmed intentions to expand to Alice Springs and at least four exchanges in the Darwin metropolitan area once the $125 million link is completed later this year. Sykes said he expected to see “substantial” savings on the costs of backhaul than are currently available in the territory, but an exact finish date for the link was dependent on weather conditions.

“We’ve been able to continue works around the Queensland floods but the issue we always had to face is the Northern Territory wet season which is now,” he said. "If it’s a short season things will be good; if it extends, that may cause some issues.

"No alarm bells at this stage.”

Follow James Hutchinson on Twitter: @j_hutch

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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Tags Victor HarborinternodeNextgen

More about AgileFederal GovernmentIinetInternodeNextgen NetworksOptusTelstra Corporation

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