Telstra InfraCo opens up dark fibre network

Meanwhile, Optus has launched Optus U micro-credentials program for staff.

Telstra InfraCo's dark fibre optic network is now available for use across six Australian state capitals.

"Spanning across our nation is 250,000km of untapped potential that we can now begin to offer our customers," Telstra InfraCo fibre executive Kathryn Jones said. "With our massive fibre footprint underpinning our new offering, it opens up a wealth of capabilities and control."

Jones said over 250 pre-defined paths across six state capitals that are connected to 68 metro data centres, 78 NBN points of interconnect, and two cable landing stations are now available.

She said opening up the telco's fixed network to customers is a "profound step in unlocking untapped value" in Telstra's network assets.

Dark fibre is the first product to be launched by the infrastructure arm of Telstra since its launch in 2018. Jones said it is the first of a series of offerings Telstra InfraCo is planning on bringing to the market.

Towards the end of last year, Telstra announced that by the end of 2021, it intends to split itself into an InfraCo Fixed business that would own and operate passive fixed infrastructure such as ducts, fibre, data centres, subsea cables, and exchanges; an InfraCo Tower business that would own and operate passive tower assets; and ServeCo that would remain as the bulk of Telstra, owning its retail business, active electronics and radio access network, spectrum, as well as offering services and products to customers.

"The proposed restructure is one of the most significant in Telstra's history and the largest corporate change since privatisation. It will unlock value in the company, improve the returns from the company's assets and create further optionality for the future," CEO Andy Penn said at the time.  

Elsewhere, Optus on Wednesday announced the launch of Optus U, an employee upskilling program that will deliver accredited short courses to its employees.

Partnering with the La Trobe and Macquarie universities, TAFE, industry associations, and other partners, the "bespoke" curriculums and five micro-credential programs are aimed at bridging the skills gap for in-demand digital skills.

"At Optus, we predict the acceleration of technological change will continue unabated in 2021 and beyond, as the adoption of new technologies such as cloud and AI are brought forward by years," VP of human resources Katie Aitkin said in a blog post.

"To meet the demands of new technologies, it's critical that we ensure our people have the right skills and capabilities in place to drive Optus into the future and deliver for our customers across multiple digital domains."

115 Optus employees have begun undertaking courses across customer experience, data and analytics, and artificial intelligence.

New programs covering 5G, cloud, Internet of Things, and cybersecurity are planned for 2021, with Optus expecting over 300 employees to take part.

In addition to micro-credentials, Aitkin said Optus U will also future proof employees through a lecture and guest speaker series called U Talks. She said Optus U will also feature practical workshops and innovative research projects for employees to collaborate and learn new skills from one another.

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