NBN Unleash Tassie Stage II But Is Super-Speed Broadband Here Already?

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Stage II of NBN’s Tassie project has kicked off as AARNET says it is doing now what the NBN promises in ten years time.

AARNet and Cisco have announced “successful” trial of a 40GB service, which “demonstrates Australia has the infrastructure and capabilities in place to support the demanding ICT requirements of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA)” it said in a statement yesterday.  

This means the new technology is likely to deliver speeds of up to 100 Gigabits per second (Gbps) on its east coast network within a year –  far greater than the NBN projected speed of  100MB p/s, Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet) claims. 

The project team which included Cisco installed new 40Gbps muxponders onto its existing cables enabling it to transmit parallel wavelengths greater distances without regeneration. 

The high capacity network is critical for “big data” transfer, data processing tools and collaboration needed to produce global research for scientific disciplines such as radio astronomy. 

The 40/100Gbps trial is a “quantum leap” forward, the CEO of AARNet said yesterday. 

“We will be doing things than the NBN might be doing in 10 years, except we’re doing them today,” Don Robertson, chief operating officer confirmed to News Ltd. 

However, Robertson insisted the NBN would be “complementary” as opposed to competing with the controversial $36bn national broadband network, currently under construction. 

“The NBN is a complementary to AARNET but it (the NBN) more particularly provides short to medium term connections to individual houses, small companies and schools.”

“They’re talking 100MB per second, possibly moving to one gigabit per second. We’re talking many orders of magnitude greater.

“We’re complementary rather than competitive and for the foreseeable future the NBN wouldn’t be carrying the sort of data rates we’re talking about here.”

 

The project is being carried on behalf of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and radio astronomy community as part of Australia’s bid to host Square Kilometre Array radio telescope international science project in 2012. 


The trial connected three CSIRO landmarks including the Parkes Radio Telescope known as ‘The Dish’ in central west New South Wales, Narrabri Observatory in northwest of the state, and the CSIRO’s main radio astronomy headquarters in Marsfield, Sydney. 

“The high bandwidth required for this sort of trial is a great example of how Australia’s existing infrastructure can support the SKA’s vision in a cost-effective manner,” Dr Brian Boyle, SKA Director of the CSIRO. 

With the right equipment on the back end of the fibres, the network can deliver up to terabytes per second, he added. 


However, its use in practical terms will be limited for the moment as it is light years ahead of current internet traffic requirements. 

This comes as second stage two of the controversial NBN project kicks off in Sorell, Tasmania, which “will provide access to high-speed broadband to more than 11,000 homes and businesses (in Tasmania) upon completion,” the Broadband minister, Stephen Conroy, said. 

“The Gillard Government is getting on with the job of delivering enhanced broadband services to Tasmania, which has traditionally had the lowest proportion of households with broadband access,” Senator Conroy said.

However, it appears take up has, to date, been limited with recent reports suggesting take up among Tasmanian’s was just 16%. Senator Conroy denied this figure, insisting it was far higher. 

The other “stage two” communities of Triabunna, Kingston Beach, Deloraine, St Helens, George Town and South Hobart will also kick off “shortly” with services expected to be “available progressively” from March 2012.

This follows the launch of commercial services in Tasmania in July 2010 in Scottsdale, Smithton and Midway Point.

 

Households, businesses and schools in these communities are already experiencing the benefits of high-speed broadband and improved competition,” Senator Conroy said.

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