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Telstra Next IP upgrade 90% done

Telstra's $1.5 billion Alcatel-Lucent-led core network upgrade is 90 per cent complete, according to the telco's general managing director of networks and services, Michael Rocca.
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Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

Telstra's $1.5 billion Alcatel-Lucent-led core network upgrade is 90 per cent complete, according to the telco's general managing director of networks and services, Michael Rocca.

Michael Rocca

Michael Rocca
(Credit: Telstra)

The upgrade, commenced in 2005, is "essentially complete", Rocca said today. Telstra said it has spent $1.5 billion to date on the upgrade which it expects will have a lifespan of around 14 years, taking it to 2024.

The network supports Telstra's Hybrid Fibre Coaxial cable, digital subscriber line (DSL), its metropolitan mobile network and Velocity — Telstra's greenfield fibre-to-the-home service. Telstra today said it had migrated 2 million services that were being delivered internet over its broadband-equipped exchanges to Next IP.

Key providers for its upgrade included Cisco, Tellabs and Juniper. Alcatel-Lucent led the integration.

All eyes, however, will be on how households respond to services Telstra unveils for its high speed broadband set for Melbourne by December, which industry observers have said will be a litmus test for the National Broadband Network's (NBN) business case. Telstra announced last March that it hoped to deliver a 100 megabit per second download service to around 1 million homes in Melbourne.

"If Telstra can actually create services that people are willing to pay extra for, I think we can have much more confidence that the NBN can be made sustainable," Ovum telco analyst David Kennedy told ZDNet.com.au. "If Telstra struggles to do that, it's going to be very hard to imagine a business case for an NBN based on fibre."

The telco would not give any clues today about what those services might look like; however, Michael Lawrey, Telstra, executive director of networks and technology said, "It's about enabling the home environment ... to start consuming multiple services simultaneously. That becomes a real differentiator. It's not a one for one basis anymore."

Telstra's executives would not discuss the NBN today. "We're not here to talk about the NBN today," said Rocca. "That's because essentially we know as much as you do."

Rocca repeated Telstra chief David Thodey's previous remarks that it was "committed to engage in a constructive way with the government". "We want to find the best solution for Australia, our customers, our shareholders and our staff," he said.

Telstra also kicked off its hosted unified communications offering in partnership with Microsoft. Called TIPT or Telstra IP Telephony, the service will allow businesses to ditch PBX phone systems for a managed service, and would mean the ability to make calls from Microsoft Outlook, Office Communicator or SharePoint.

"This in my view is one of the first unified communications in the cloud propositions," said Ovum enterprise analyst, Claudio Castelli. "Initially they will target the larger companies because some of them are using Office Communicator Server (OCS). So, Telstra will look initially to Microsoft's OCS installed base."

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