Australia’s appetite for fixed and mobile broadband services has exploded in the past couple of years. Thanks to its investment in a converged all-IP transport network Telstra can now bring better and faster fixed and mobile IP-based services to market more quickly than ever before. Furthermore the cost-effectiveness of launching new services has improved significantly.
Over the past 10 years, driven by the dramatic growth of fixed and mobile broadband services, Telstra has evolved its national transport infrastructure in order to enhance capacity and coverage, while reducing unit cost. The nationwide transport network delivers the business benefits of flexibility and speed-tomarket for Telstra and has become a major strategic asset for both Telstra and Australia.
In 2005 a new architecture was adopted. The original telephony oriented architecture was replaced with a much more powerful and flexible nationwide Ethernet-enabled transport network that connects all cities and towns. The transformed transport network allowed Telstra to move much more quickly and cost effectively when launching new innovative fixed and mobile IP based services.
Mike Wright, Executive Director, Telstra Networks & Access Technologies, says: "Having transformed to a converged IP-based network and taking advantage of the technology roadmapwhere we use dense wave division multiplexing and a highly scalable network, we have taken what was traditionally a transport network that was taken for granted – something you connected places together with – and actually turned it into an asset."
Given the size and natural landscape of Australia, transforming the transport network required considerable engineering skill. Telecoms equipment has to survive temperatures higher than 50C, and the remoteness of many sites and the toughness of the environment outside cities means it can take days to reach and repair a faulty node.
With these long distances, further savings have been realized by taking advantage of the increased optical reach of new equipment. Instead of the usual 50km spans, routes are being upgraded to 100km spans. Indeed, a recently built section in the remote Arnhem Land area in northern Australia has a span of 200km. The benefits of fewer repeater sites include enhanced reliability, savings on building maintenance and site rent, and reduced energy consumption and emissions.
Recently, Telstra has taken advantage of spare capacity within the existing fiber routes to configure redundant routes between all major transport nodes. The result is a transport network with extremely high reliability. This project was easily justified, considering the enormous revenues now dependent on the transport network.
Thus, in recent years, the creation of a long-haul transport network with enormous capacity, coverage and resilience has meant that Telstra can introduce new networks on top of the transport network extremely quickly and with only modest incremental cost.
"Ericsson has given us a platform that is highly flexible and scalable", Wright says. "For instance, we recently launched dual-carrier HSPA without having to rework the network. The same was true when we introduced a content distribution network that supports, among other things, our internet TV offer. We are able to deliver these services very easily by building on the infrastructure that was already in place"
Telstra’s transition approach has delivered capex and opex savings for the transport network and will continue to do so while enabling dramatic capacity and revenue growth for networks using this transport network.
"Working with Ericsson as our transport technology partner, we have built a highcapacity business asset with unsurpassed coverage and reliability. We are now using it to bring new services to market in record time," says Michael Lawrey, Executive Director, Architecture, Telstra Online and Media.
Emilio Romeo, Ericsson Director of Telstra Customer Unit, says "The long-term relationship between Telstra and Ericsson gives us the opportunity to share with each other our plans and innovations – to our mutual benefit"