Basslink makes contact, preps June launch

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Basslink makes contact, preps June launch

Basslink Telecoms won't let the Government’s $250m backhaul blackspot scheme divert its focus from the go-live of its much anticipated Bass Strait cable in June.

The cable operator said today it has made active its first 10Gbps wavelength between the converter stations in Loy Yang in Victoria and Georgetown in Tasmania.

Additional wavelengths are being tested and commissioned in coming weeks, it said.

At launch the operator expects to hit speeds of 40Gbps.

Basslink's general manager of telecoms, Michael Coates, also said it had made "significant progress" to resolving "problematic" negotiations with one of the two Victorian terrestrial link providers that will link the Loy Yang converter station to Melbourne.

The cable is on track to be "fully operational" by June, he said.

Coates re-affirmed Basslink's commitment to meet the June deadline and said that although the firm was interested in the Government's $250 million backhaul investment proposal, its participation is unlikely if it diverts too much resource away from the task at hand.

"It's full steam ahead with Basslink," Coates said.

"We're not going to be diverted from it and there's no excuses to be diverted from it."

But he added Basslink is examining the Department of Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy (DBCDE) consultation paper in some detail.

He could not confirm whether Basslink would provide a submission in the consultation process.

"Our focus remains 100% on getting the Basslink cable going," Coates said.

"[If we were to participate], we'd probably take the opposite tack to Optus and stay within a very narrow focus.

"We wouldn't be going for a big build. It would only be very specialised or niche. We'll be very selective."

Coates confirmed Basslink had entered more wholesale access agreements than the single deal announced to date - that of Internode - but could not reveal further details, citing commercial-in-confidence arrangements.

In separate but related news, Internode has welcomed the $250 million funding fast-track in a statement provided to iTnews.

"Agile/Internode has a history of almost a decade of successful regional backhaul and last mile regional network deployments, and we welcome the potential to have regional backhaul augmented with open access wholesale backhaul services supported by the government," managing director Simon Hackett said.

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