ISP Internode has signed on to buy Basslink services to Tasmania, despite the company acknowledging today that more problems had again delayed the date on which the fibre-optic cable from the mainland would become operational.
A few months ago, Michael Coates, general manager Basslink Telecoms, had said the cable would be ready for use by April at the latest. He then pointed out the extra work which needed to be done at both ends of the cable, with the company having to make arrangements to have the data carried from the cable under the water to the capitals.
He said today it was unlikely his deadline would be met. "We've had some slippage on the project, but we'll definitely be ready to go live before the middle of the year," he said.
Coates wouldn't say what had caused the delay, but intended to come clean tomorrow at his speech at the Communications Day Summit in Sydney.
"The Basslink Telecoms project relies on a lot of parties to bring it all together," he said only.
Despite delays, internet service provider Internode today said it had signed on to the new cable, which increased its data capacity across Bass Strait by more than 150 per cent, while creating greater certainty of services by having a redundant data path.
It has signed a three-year contract with Basslink for an initial data capacity of 622 megabits per second. The company expected the number to increase to over a gigabit within the first year.
"As well as virtually halving our cost of backhauling data across Bass Strait, the Basslink service will allow us to exploit economies of scale as we grow," Internode carrier relations manager John Lindsey said in a statement.
Coates could not name additional customers which would be coming on board, but told ZDNet.com.au there would likely soon be news of more customers signing up, including other ISPs.
The cable has had a long nascent. Plans were first drawn on in 2000. It underwent a change of hands in 2007, but it took until November last year for a deal to be struck between the owners, Basslink, the Tasmanian Government and the on land backbone provider Aurora which made the lighting up of the cable possible.
The original plan was to have the cable operational in early 2009, which crystallised to become April at the latest and has now come before mid-year.