Conroy visits Nextgen's backhaul hub: pics

Conroy visits Nextgen's backhaul hub: pics

Summary: Fibre-optic backbone specialist Nextgen Networks has installed over 8000km of its own fibre across Australia, but its current role as prime contractor for the government's 6000km Regional Backbone Blackspots Program (RBBP) has given it a high profile in the National Broadband Network (NBN) roll-out, especially now that the provider has reached its halfway point.


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  • (Credit: David Braue/ZDNet Australia)

    The cable being laid bundles a large number of fibre-optic strands, with extensive protective sheathing. Specialised "rippers" dig a trench 1 metre deep, into which the cable is laid by a plough. The plough lays it into place through a chute.

  • (Credit: David Braue/ZDNet Australia)

    "This is high-strength cable," Sharp says. It takes around a month to lay 100km of cable, with project teams and support offices moving along the route in jumps of approximately 300km.

  • (Credit: David Braue/ZDNet Australia)

    Large construction teams are "self-sufficient", Sharp said, but safety monitors in the RBBP project office continually communicate with individual field staff, many of whom are working in some of the country's most remote areas, to ensure they're alive and well. This includes manual procedures like thrice-daily phone calls, and more sophisticated measures such as this system, which tracks vehicle positions in real time.

    If a car stops moving for too long, the system sounds an alert that is actioned by local staff. If staff leave their cars, they clip a safety device onto their belt clips; if they stop moving for too long, the device sounds an alarm, which is transmitted back to base via the satellite phone installed in each car.

Topics: Broadband, Government AU, NBN


Australia’s first-world economy relies on first-rate IT and telecommunications innovation. David Braue, an award-winning IT journalist and former Macworld editor, covers its challenges, successes and lessons learned as it uses ICT to assert its leadership in the developing Asia-Pacific region – and strengthen its reputation on the world stage.

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  • So according to your picture they are only laying 48 fibre cable and with the size comparison it is not even high strength.