Telstra to put $1.6 billion into fibre projects

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Telstra to put $1.6 billion into fibre projects

Months after HyperOne starts building its own national fibre backbone.

Telstra is set to invest up to $1.6 billion into a pair of fibre infrastructure projects, one for extra capacity and route diversity between capital cities, and the other to support a Viasat satellite system.

The telco said it expected to invest between $1.4 billion and $1.6 billion outside of its business-as-usual capital expenditure over the next five years.

About 70 percent of the commitment will coincide with the telco’s T25 transformation.

Telstra said one of the projects will see it build a new “state-of-the-art inter-city dual fibre paths” that add up to 20,000km of new terrestrial cable.

CEO Andrew Penn said the investment would boost inter-capital capacity, as well as capacity for regional areas.

“This will support remote working and education needs, health services, high-definition entertainment consumption and online gaming, and IoT use cases such as mining and agriculture,” Penn said. 

“There is growing demand for greater fibre capacity, enabling massive bandwidth and ultrafast data rates with lower latency. 

“The time for delivering the infrastructure to support this is now.” 

Telstra said the new inter-capital links would support transmission rates of up to 650Gbps, compared to 100Gbps today.

“It will enable express connectivity between capital cities up to 55Tbps per fibre pair capacity (over six times today’s typical capacity of 8.8Tbps per fibre pair) on routes such as Sydney – Melbourne; Sydney – Brisbane; and Perth – Sydney,” the telco said.

“The national fibre network project is a multi-year build which will commence at scale in late FY22 with early trial and test deployments already underway.”

Telstra said it had entered discussions “with key anchor customers… including with global hyperscalers, local telecommunications providers and construction partners.”

The investment in terrestrial fibre infrastructure comes as Bevan Slattery-backed HyperOne starts to build out what looks like a similar network.

HyperOne is also promising a 20,000km fibre backbone, albeit completed before Telstra’s.

The other major infrastructure project being funded by Telstra today is the construction and management of ground infrastructure and fibre to ‘support the new ViaSat-3 terabit-class global satellite system as part of [a] 16.5 year contract.”

Penn said the Viasat build would be ‘the largest-scale satellite solution deployment in the nation’s history.”

Telstra said it will co-locate Viasat’s satellite access node (SAN) equipment at hundreds of sites across Australia and will build and manage high-speed fibre links to each site. 

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