Nextgen Group, Victorian government partner on fibre network project

Customers in areas between Warrnambool and Geelong can connect to Nextgen’s fibre network

Consumers living in areas of Victoria between Warrnambool and Geelong will receive access to Nextgen Group’s optical fibre network following a partnership between the vendor and the Victorian government.

The Victorian government initiated the project in order to open up the state's telecommunications network to competition.

Nextgen Group director of government practice Charlie Sutherland said that it will provide wholesale services to other carriers for the provision of broadband or mobile services.

Prior to the deal, he said that carriers could only buy backhaul services from the incumbent, Telstra.

“Placing reliance on a single carrier can have significant impacts as seen in the Warrnambool community when a fire in a local exchange during 2012 caused significant disruption,” he said in a statement.

The fire, which broke out in the Telstra exchange on 23 November in 2012, damaged 60 per cent of the exchange and disrupted services for 60,000 Telstra customers in the state’s west and southwest areas.

Nextgen Group currently has 3300 kilometres of fibre network in Victoria and is upgrading some routes of the network to 100 gigabytes. According to the vendor, the project will add an additional 320 kilometres of fibre to the national network.

In addition, the project will link all nine of Nextgen Group’s Metronode data centres in Australia. The two closet facilities to the fibre network are in Derrimut and Walsh Street, Melbourne.

Responding to Sutherland's comments, a Telstra spokesperson told Computerworld Australia that any company can invest and build its own backhaul networks. "There are now multiple providers in this competitive market," the spokesperson said.

Telstra's report (PDF) into the Warrnambool exchange fire included 22 recommendations that the company is working on to help prevent a similar incident occurring again and to improve the speed of recovery for customers if an exchange was damaged in the future.

"These [recommendations] include a variety of issues arising from the fire, including root cause, customer impact, recovery effectiveness, network architecture, long term restoration and impact on emergency services," the spokesperson said.

"More specifically, key recommendations include physical separation of key cables connected into the exchange to minimise potential of all critical infrastructure being affected by one incident, and additional offsite back up of critical and complex configuration data to allow for quick re-loading of network configurations in the event of trouble."

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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