Basslink escapes Primus data centre blackout

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Basslink escapes Primus data centre blackout

Basslink Telecom is among a growing list of firms awaiting the cause of the Primus data centre blackout in Melbourne but said its own redundancy arrangements would shield it from the effects of future failures at the facility.

The cable operator revealed to iTnews that it has secured space in the Primus and Nextgen data centres in Melbourne, the PIPE and Aurora Energy data centres in Tasmania, from which it will offer connections to customers.

Its general manager of telecoms, Michael Coates, said many of the disaster recovery plans and strategies developed for the electricity interconnection side of the Basslink business would be reused to guarantee broadband service transmission.

Basslink runs both submarine electricity and fibre cables between mainland Victoria and Tasmania.

"We're still in the commissioning phase so we weren't affected [by the blackout]. But we're watching the situation with interest to see how it pans out," Coates said.

He said the company had moved to reassure its regional shareholders of redundancy arrangements as news of the blackout spread.

He added that there were high levels of redundancy built into the electronic, data centre and equipment parts of the business, as well as the fibre network and undersea cable, and the blackout would not cause a rethink in Melbourne.

Coates also confirmed that the broadband cable service remains on-track for launch in April and that discussions with ISPs to purchase capacity are "well underway".

"We've had strong positive feedback from ISPs that are keen to break the Telstra monopoly," Coates said.

"Conceivably, ISPs that are locked into Telstra wholesale contracts are going to run those out but we expect new uptake from ISPs that want to activate retail broadband service offerings in Tasmania. I think it will take up to 18 months to really get into Tasmania and start to see massive amounts of opportunity."

Internode has previously indicated it will use the Basslink cable to deliver ADSL2+ services to Tasmania.

Late last year, managing director Simon Hackett said Internode "will have to subsidise ADSL2+ services until competitive [backhaul] pricing is available.

"While the cost of backhaul services from Tasmania remains appalling, we expect this situation to improve in 2009 when Basslink introduces infrastructure competition," Hackett said.

Coates said Internode's decision to subsidise costs before knowing exact pricing arrangements for Basslink was "a big leap of faith but I believe one that's founded".

However, he was unable to provide an assurance that Basslink's launch would narrow the disparity between the costs of local and international data transmission.

Internode said back in December that "because Bass Strait backhaul is limited to a monopoly supplier, Telstra, it is much more expensive for Internode to transfer data between Tasmania and Victoria than it is to move data between Australia and the US".

Coates declined to comment on Basslink's negotiations with other individual ISPs.


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