NBN pause a boon for Tasmanian cloud provider

Tasmanian cloud provider TasmaNet has idle NBN construction crews rolling out its dark fibre for businesses in Hobart while the Commonwealth Government reassesses the NBN rollout in Tasmania.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Tasmanian cloud provider TasmaNet is taking advantage of the idle National Broadband Network (NBN) construction crews in Tasmania, putting them to work building out dark fibre in the Hobart CBD for business customers.

The Tasmanian cloud provider also acts as a telecommunications company with fibre links between most major Tasmanian cities, and a layer two link back to the mainland of Australia. TasmaNet has been a licenced carrier since 2004, and offers wireless services out to regional areas of Tasmania where connectivity through fixed line networks is poor. The company is also an NBN reseller. 

While the Coalition government has said NBN fibre construction will continue to premises in Tasmania until it has decided on an alternative policy, TasmaNet's product development manager Luke Butcher told ZDNet that the Coalition's review of the project allowed TasmaNet to begin rolling out fibre to businesses in Hobart's CBD in November.

"In November we started rolling out our own fibre, so we've got fibre in the ground in TasmaNet designated pits," he said.

"The NBN has been great for us because there's some contractors and machinery sitting around with no contracts to fulfill, so they're happy to jump at the work.

"It was one of those good timings for us, and it was one of those strategies we'd always been considering."

He said some premises can already be connected, and TasmaNet has mainly focused on areas where businesses are located, pitching for not only network services, but cloud services for those businesses.

"It's a business functionality, so it is certainly not an NBN replacement; it won't be to every household. It's to targeted areas where there are concentrations of businesses," Butcher said.

TasmaNet hosts its services in its own 96-rack datacentre in Tasmania, and disaster recovery services out of NextDC's datacentre in Melbourne. Butcher said that most Tasmanian customers were still interested in only private cloud services, but some were slowly edging towards hybrid cloud and public cloud services.

"We're seeing almost exclusively people using private cloud to host their own stuff. They might have a typical suite of vendor applications, and then they'll just be hosting that in the cloud rather than hosting it on premises," he said.

In preparation for the need for hybrid cloud services, with more companies looking to put a range of applications into the cloud, Butcher said he was looking to use some of F5's single login authentication services bundled into its overall cloud offering.

TasmaNet's customers include the Tasmanian government, regional councils as well as a number of transport companies, mining companies, and BetFair. He said that the big attraction was the datacentre's location in the state.

"Being on-island down there and having data on-island is a big driver for a lot of places."

Josh Taylor travelled to the Sunshine Coast as a guest of F5.

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