MacTel announces Sydney network operations centre

A decision by its third-party network operations services provider to offshore jobs led Macquarie Telecom to build its own NOC, it has announced.

Macquarie Telecom has announced that it will be opening a new network operations centre (NOC) in Sydney this month, which it said will replace the use of third-party network operations services.

According to the telco, its NOC -- which will be integrated inside Macquarie Telecom's Sydney CBD call centre and labelled Hub+ -- will save "at least 13 jobs" from being offshored after its third-party provider had decided to send its business to another region.

The roles it creates will involve various types of engineers, who will work across network faults and incidents. The NOC will make use of new operating support and IT management systems, increased automation across device configuration in the network, and real-time monitoring systems, which Macquarie Telecom said it hopes will reduce repair times and therefore network downtime.

"NOC engineers will have access to smarter tools that will drive efficiency and enable us to be more proactive with our customers," Macquarie Telecom COO Art Cartwright said.

"The project also links to our graduate program; young graduates will be able to receive additional training through the NOC. It will be like an incubator for developing more technical career paths."

The NOC will also include a technical service desk for helping solve customer complaints and questions.

"Customer service in our industry is appalling and on a slippery slope," Macquarie Telecom group executive Luke Clifton argued.

"Outsourcing jobs can make a quick profit in the short term, but the customer experience suffers when even simple queries take time and unnecessary steps to resolve. It's a zero-sum game, because more resources are needed when the technical expertise isn't there.

"Keeping our NOC in Australia will not only provide more local jobs, but will save our business money. Our competitors either don't understand this logic, or don't have the skills or imagination to pull it off."

Macquarie Telecom spruiks its Australian centres as not only providing jobs in the nation, but also for ensuring it is able to provide services for government departments; in September, its government-focused arm was added to the New South Wales government's GovDC Marketplace, allowing it to provide cloud and cybersecurity solutions to state government agencies.

Macquarie Telecom as a result said it will focus on building government datacentre infrastructure over the coming year.

"We are investing even more heavily in building the infrastructure for government," Macquarie Government head of Business Development Angela Anderson said at the time.

Macquarie Telecom announced an FY17 jump in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) by AU$8 million to AU$40.3 million, up 25 percent.

During the year, it doubled its capex to AU$38.5 million, with revenue climbing to AU$220 million thanks to its cloud and government units, which booked AU$82 million in revenue alone.

At the time, it flagged an expansion of its Canberra datacentre to keep up with demand from the high number of agencies on its books. It will also decide over the next six months whether to build or purchase additional datacentre capacity.

The provider completed the expansion of its intellicentre bunker in Canberra in February, and was awarded Unclassified DLM certification by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) for its GovZone cloud offering in March.

Macquarie Telecom was the first Australian cloud provider to be listed on the federal government's certified list by the ASD back in May 2015.

"Our Canberra datacentre is purpose-built to meet the security needs of federal government customers, providing them a secure government to host data and deploy cloud services. The government's need for security has never been higher, as was highlighted in review of the eCensus failure last year," Macquarie Government managing director Aidan Tudehope said earlier this year.

"The right cloud solution can be much more secure than legacy government systems ... Macquarie Telecom has made a deliberate decision to keep our datacentres on Australian soil to keep all sensitive data within the country and completely under the Australian jurisdiction."

Last week, Macquarie Telecom's bid to acquire Bulletproof was opposed by Microequities Asset Management, which upped its stake from 5.28 percent to control 6.5 percent of Bulletproof last week, and on Monday upped its stake to 7.5 percent.

Macquarie Telecom's proposal was worth AU$18 million, with the telco intending to use Bulletproof to boost its public cloud offering.

However, Microequities said Bulletproof would be turning its business around.

"Microequities considers Macquarie Telecom's bid to be highly opportunistic and unreasonable," Microequities chief investment officer Carlos Gil said.

"It provides inadequate consideration for a business that generated circa AU$50 million of revenues in FY17 and is the leading Amazon Web Services consulting partner for the Australian and New Zealand markets.

"Bulletproof management's internal forecast is for an EBITDA result in FY18 of AU$5.5 million, meaning Macquarie's bid represents an extremely low 3.77x EBITDA multiple."

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