Telstra gets Gigabit Ethernet on tap from Cisco

Telstra has signed a deal with Cisco Systems to create a multimedia network delivering Gigabit Ethernet services to its metropolitan branches.

While the agreement is still subject to trial, Cisco plans to launch the service commercially in all capital cities, according to Geoff Benson, Telstra's manager of wide band services.

The "Gigabit Ethernet on tap" solution was built using end-to-end Cisco products. It will be co-branded and co-marketed by both companies, Benson said.

The deal was brokered for an undisclosed amount, a Telstra corporate affairs spokesman said. The project also reinforces Telstra's existing relationship with Cisco, which saw the carrier implement its first Cisco-powered network in 1995.

EpiCentre, due for launch later this year, offers on-site high-speed connection between Telstra office local area networks (LANs) or desktop computers. Integrated voice, data and video-over-IP applications can be carried over the network, and allow for high-speed internet access.

Telstra's retail director of data and IT solutions, Max Smith, described the service as simple and cost-effective. "This is an Ethernet plug in the wall," he said. "If you're in a building, our idea is to give you the Ethernet to the wall socket."

Cisco is targeting small-to-medium business from the corporate, government, and education sectors, particularly from the CBD, with the Gigabit Ethernet on tap solution, said Benson. The service will only be available for national coverage, he added.

Under EpiCentre, companies do not need to have or purchase any CPE equipment, as they would be if they were connected into a Telstra-provided basement switch or router, according to Benson. Business would only need to provide connectivity to fibre or copper vertical cabling if they did not have any existing infrastructure, Benson said.

Customers can also buy bandwidth on Cisco's new network in 10Mbps (megabits per second) to 1000Mbps additions.

Benson sees the solution as a "step up" to a "next-generation" enterprise solution. He felt the current market "did not offer a lot of choice" in high-speed LAN networks.

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