Marconi wins contract for domestic Australian fibre

Telecommunications integrator and services company Marconi signed an installation agreement with IP1 (Australia) Pty. Ltd. this week worth A$30 million (US$14.7 million) to construct a fibre optic link between Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

The underground link will provide IP1, a subsidiary of Australian stock exchange-listed Amcom Telecommunications Ltd., the highest capacity carrier services yet to be built in Australia, which the telecommunications company will resell to wholesale and corporate customers. It will also see the telco face off against Cable & Wireless Optus Ltd. and incumbent Telstra Corp. Ltd. for the long-haul East-West carrier services.

Investment banking firm ABN AMRO signaled its intention to underwrite the third-party equity funded $145 million project, which is slated for completion by June 2002. The link will become the third high-speed network connecting the Eastern and Western seaboards of Australia and link into the existing Indian Ocean submarine SEA-ME-WE3 cable (South East Asia - Middle East - Western Europe), and the Southern Cross cable linking Australia to the U.S.

Marconi will commission and install the 3,875km link as well as provide its own SmartPhotoniX dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) technology as part of the agreement. Meanwhile, former Telstra engineering subsidiary Network Design and Construction (NDC) will reap the lion's share of the roll out scoring A$100 million for the laying and construction of the cable.

Amcom is touting the demand for data bandwidth will grow by 40- to 60 percent per annum over the next five years, and has already made "significant" pre-sales to Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. to the value of A$20 million.

In a statement to the Australian stock exchange late last month Amcom officials claim the Melbourne to Adelaide link will be completed by late May.

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