Corning Cable Systems awarded NBN fibre contract

Ben Grubb | Dec 8, 2009 5:46 AM
Connects three Tasmanian communities to FTTP.

Corning Cable Systems has been awarded a National Broadband Network tender for the end-to-end supply of a fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) network to connect approximately 5,000 Tasmanian homes.

The contract was awarded by Aurora Energy on behalf of NBN Tasmania.

Corning's managing director for Australasia and southern Asia Pacific, Rainer Dittrich, said that under the latest contract, all 5,000 homes the FTTP network passed would receive fibre connections.

He said Aurora would contract workers to make the connections between the power poles and houses.

"There is a bracket [attached to the house] that takes the cable tension and then [the cable] is routed typically into the roof cavity to the optical network termination device," Dittrich said.

Fibre construction techniques would be "similar" to those employed in the TasCOLT FTTP trial, which also used Corning technology, he said.

TasCOLT is a Tasmanian Government-funded $10 million trial of fibre-to-the-premises technology connecting around 1,000 homes in New Town, South Hobart and Devonport.

In a statement, executive chairman at NBN Tasmania, Doug Campbell, said the contract marked another "milestone achievement".

"I'm delighted that approximately 5,000 Tasmanian homes and businesses can look forward to faster, more reliable broadband connections from mid-next year," Campbell said.

It followed a separate contract to supply 292 kilometres of fibre optic backhaul cable awarded to Corning back in July.

Aurora's role under question

Aurora's role in the tender process was questioned in Tasmania's Parliament late last week, when Liberal shadow minister for energy, Peter Gutwein, asked to see the five-year "master plan" for telecommunications announced by Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett.

General manager of strategy and corporate affairs at Aurora, Martin Wallace, said the utility had no involvement in the plan.

"We are an agent for the NBN Tasmanian company to design, procure and supervise the build of the fibre network," Wallace said. 

"That is our role and that is like an alliance type of arrangement with NBN Tasmania. It is one thing to build the network; it is another thing to have services running and the responsibility for services sits with NBN Tasmania."