Telstra skirts SEA-ME-WE3 cable limits

 

Buys into new Perth-Singapore link.

Telstra has bought one of four fibre pairs on a new subsea cable system connecting Perth and Singapore, partly to gain some control over transmission technology upgrades on the route.

The carrier said late last week that it had invested in the ASSC-1 cable, which is to provide an initial 6.4 TBps capacity on the route. iTnews broke the news that Telstra was considering buying into the project a week earlier.

Telstra has now indicated it will not only buy a fibre pair outright but also house the ASSC-1 cable landing station in Perth.

Telstra International's senior vice president of global carrier sales Jim Clarke told iTnews that the ASSC-1 cable landing station will sit in Telstra's Wellington St telephone exchange in Perth, where it will interconnect with terrestrial links.

"We provide the site infrastructure - building, power, air conditioning," Clarke said.

"We will also be providing remote hands capabilities for the ASSC-1 equipment that's housed in this location."

It appeared the cable would be brought up from the beach manhole within Perth's submarine cable protection zone to the Wellington exchange using existing facilities.

Although ASSC-1 is not due for completion until 2013, Telstra is already looking at it serving as the primary link for a number of customers.

"I would expect we'll be using a lot of this new facility for [the] primary route for Telstra's traffic and customer's traffic," Clarke said.

No decision had been taken as to the extent that Telstra traffic would be shared across the ASSC-1 and SEA-ME-WE3 links.

Clarke said that Telstra's investment in ASSC-1 would give it a greater degree of control over the future upgrade path for the cable - something it does not have on SEA-ME-WE3.

"SEA-ME-WE3 does have limitations placed on it by the consortium - of which we Telstra are part of - and until the consortium changes various rules and conditions it's difficult for SEA-ME-WE3 to be upgraded [to future transmission technologies]," he said.

"[On ASSC-1], Telstra will have that control, given we are purchasing our own fibre pair outright on this system.

"It's within Telstra's control as and when that fibre pair is upgraded in the future and the equipment we use."

Clarke said that the mining and resources boom in Western Australia and South Australia also made it attractive to invest in more capacity on the cable route.

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