01/04/2009 - 22:00

Nextgen feels need for speed

01/04/2009 - 22:00

Bookmark

Upgrade your subscription to use this feature.

AS speculation abounds on the future of a national broadband network, an elite number of businesses already have access to, and are using, extraordinarily high speeds.

Nextgen feels need for speed

AS speculation abounds on the future of a national broadband network, an elite number of businesses already have access to, and are using, extraordinarily high speeds.

Nextgen Networks managing director Phil Sykes claims a growing need to send data, including video, was pushing more users to 1Gbps and even as much as 10Gbps in some cases.

"That is 1,000 times the speed of the average home connection," Mr Sykes said.

Nextgen is a relatively small player in the market, but recent acquisitions have created a national network that links the capital cities and numerous industrial or commercial locations with them.

It claims a group of more than 60 customers in Perth with an average usage of 100 megabits per second each.

The speeds do make the federal government's national broadband network plan to provide 98 per cent of Australians with at least 12Mbps look almost archaic, but Mr Sykes admits there is only a small group of companies that needs really high speeds.

He points to industries like medicine, television broadcasters and big multi-nationals as typical users.

Nextgen arrived in Perth last year when its parent, Leighton Holdings, paid Hong Kong-based Cheung Kong Group $53.5 million for rival operator Silk Telecom, acquiring among its other assets about 120 kilometres of fibre optic cable in the the Western Australian capital.

The original owner of the network had been Bright Telecommunications, a subsidiary of the former Western Power state-owned power monopoly.

Having acquired the asset cheaply, Mr Sykes said the business was now seeking to use high speed potential to grow the customer base.

"We are really using bandwidth in a very aggressive way to differentiate," he said with regard to taking on the industry majors Telstra and Optus.

The Perth network, which stretches nearly to Hillarys in the north and Canning Vale in the south, joins Nextgen's own transnational cable at East Perth.

The main cable goes through Kalgoorlie and Mr Sykes said the company was increasingly looking at opportunities to tap in the remote areas it traversed.

He said at least one mining company had established a connection at Southern Cross, from where it has a 200-kilometre microwave link to its operations, offering 200Mbps.

Mr Sykes said busy had been relatively steady, despite the downturn.

"People are shaping and tuning their businesses and relying more on communications rather than travel," he said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options