Telecommunications integrator and services company Marconi signed an installation agreement with IP1 Australia last week worth $30 million, to construct a broadband fibre optic link between Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
The underground link will provide IP1, a subsidiary of ASX-listed Amcom Telecommunications, with the highest capacity carrier services ever built in Australia, which the telco will resell to wholesale and corporate customers. It will also see the telco face off against C&W Optus and incumbent Telstra for the long-haul East-West carrier services.
Investment banking firm ABN AMRO signalled its intention to underwrite the third-party equity-funded project, which will cost $145 million and is slated for completion by June 2002. The link will become the third high-speed network connecting the Eastern and Western seaboard, and will connect the existing Indian Ocean submarine SEA-ME-WE3 cable (South East Asia - Middle East - Western Europe) with the Southern Cross cable linking Australia to the US.
Marconi will commission and install the 3875km link, as well as provide its own SmartPhotoniX dense wavelength division multiplexing technology as part of the agreement.
Meanwhile, former Telstra engineering subsidiary Network Design and Construction (NDC) will reap the lion's share of the rollout, scoring $100 million for the laying and construction of the cable.
Amcom is touting the demand for data bandwidth will grow by 40-60 per cent per annum over the next five years, and has already made "significant" presales to Singapore Telecom to the value of $20 million.
In a statement to the ASX last month, Amcom officials claimed the Melbourne-Adelaide link will be completed by late May.