A faster introduction of new products and services to Australia should be the impact of a multimillion dollar research and development centre in North Sydney, according to its creator Marconi.
The British telecommunications giant opened its Broadband Centre of Excellence (BBCE) last week, immediately employing 10 engineers, with plans to employ 100 within five years. The centre’s main aim will be working with carriers to upgrade existing Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks to very high bitrate DSL and fibre to the home (FTTH) platforms.
Marconi Australia finance director, Jonathan Kenny, said the centre would allow companies to test products to work for the Australian market, often using the country as a test bed for much larger launches overseas.
Existing users of the centre include Transact, a triple-play voice, video and data network that serves 60,000 homes in Canberra, that Marconi helped install.
Marconi is also a reseller for Redfern Network Broadband Products, a US provider of giga-edge carrier-class transport systems, whose products will also be further tested.
“We are also looking at interoperability [of products] with other vendors,” Kenny said.
Marconi said overseas technologies entering the country often needed testing in a customer environment, which might require software development or signalling development. “We can do a demo of how a network will look to a customer, Kenny said. “It’s integrating our products on top of their networks.”
Potential customers for the centre include all the major carriers such as Telstra, Optus, and Primus.
“They are all interested in our products,” he said. “Clearly, there are [also] broadband developments around Australian utilities.”
Impending products being tested at the centre include a FTTH solution, an interactive kiosk-type webphone set for release in 3-4 months, and others associated with Marconi’s access hub for its triple-play technology.
“There are other products we are testing with our equipment,” Kenny said. “We have had interest from other OEMs to have their products tested in the country. The Australian market is very good for introducing new technology because it allows us to prime the technologies well before leapfrogging [them] to the rest of the world.”
The BBCE centre is only Marconi’s second such centre. The other is in Coventry, England.