Basslink lights up with commercial traffic

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Basslink lights up with commercial traffic

Calls for second independent cable.

Basslink Telecoms has carried the first commercial broadband signal across its undersea cable today after completing tests last week.

The cable operator confirmed reports by iTnews that ISPs were testing the transmission route, the first linking Hobart and the mainland not owned by Telstra.

The "extensive testing and commissioning process [was] completed in the recent days", a Basslink spokesman said.

Internode and Exetel were among the first testers while Netspace and iiNet watched with interest.

Internode managing director Simon Hackett said the SA internet service provider was testing the link for "a few days".

"For such major links, we routinely test them for a while before putting them into production (for obvious reasons)," he said in a forum post.

"We expect to [make] a formal announcement when we've got our link live in our production network - probably some time in the next week or so."

The lighting up of the cable was welcomed by consumer action group Digital Tasmania, which said that "reduced backhaul costs will enable more companies to deliver improved and more varied Internet services in Tasmania".

Basslink said it was "confident" that competition on the route would result in "competitive backhaul prices", reducing the cost for providers that service Tasmanians.

There was no indication from Basslink or ISPs on how much Basslink would reduce internet traffic costs across the Strait.

Digital Tasmania spokesman Andrew Connor used the launch to call for the Federal Government to fund a second, independent Tasmania link as part of the National Broadband Network.

Connor said that despite Basslink providing a diverse traffic route, Telstra's option still isn't competitive.

"You can [use Basslink and] buy redundancy from Telstra but it still costs a lot to buy even a small amount of back-up capacity from the incumbent," Connor said.

"We believe access to a second independent cable would deliver larger savings."

Connor was not confident that the private sector would build another link. He said they may employ a wait-and-see approach depending on Basslink's success.

But he said it made sense for it to be considered in the NBN.

Possible routes included North West Tasmania to Victoria via King Island and Sydney to Hobart, he said.

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