Google fibre method "could save NBN $10 billion"

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Google fibre method "could save NBN $10 billion"

Aussie firm eyes NBN work.

A fibre-laying technique being used by Google in an experimental US fibre network project could reduce the cost of the NBN by up to $10 billion, according to a local company that has licensed the technology.

Broadband Network Communications (BBNC) had tendered to use "micro-trenching" to roll out fibre in urban areas to be covered by Australia's national broadband network.

BBNC's managing director Joe Tokarczuk told iTnews the technique allowed fibre to be deployed in a straight line up to a "kilometre a day" - much farther than was possible with other methods.

He said BBNC could deploy fibre in Telstra's existing ducts or bypass them altogether, laying it instead in a "micro-trench".

The trench was dug using equipment that could be mounted as an attachment to existing plant - for example, a bobcat.

Google has produced a video that showed overseas operators employing micro-trenching as part of the search giant's Fiber for Communities project.

Tokarczuk said BBNC had held discussions with NBN Co in an attempt to convince the government-owned company to employ the technique as part of Australia's next-generation network construction process.

It was understood that BBNC was using CCTS Telecommunications as its construction partner in NBN-related proposals, although the technique could be used by anyone bidding for NBN work.

NBN Co was about to start work on stage one of the network at five mainland sites with another 14 sites to follow in stage two. These were all largely 'brownfields' sites -  built-up areas that could potentially benefit from the micro-trenching technique.

Only one site in stage one - the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick - was yet to be awarded to a network construction firm or consortium. Telstra is vying for this contract, which - if awarded - would be the incumbent's first build win for the NBN.

Tokarczuk said BBNC had worked with overseas partners for "about one-to-two years" to bring micro-trenching to Australia, and had since secured Australian patents for the technique.

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