Silk to weave regional broadband network

Melbourne-based carrier Silk Telecom has announced it will build a new optical fibre network to serve enterprise customers in regional Victoria and South Australia.

The network, to be built with equipment from Nortel Networks, will be the first in Australia to use Nortel's Common Photonic Layer (CPL) technology to help deliver high bandwidth service to regional areas, according to the company.

With 720Gbit per sec transmission capacity, the network will deliver data and voice services over Ethernet, and will also support grey and dark fibre to ensure it meets future capacity demands.

Silk Telecom's chief executive officer, Simon Perkins, said the company needed to "rapidly ramp up" the capacity of its Victorian regional network to bridge the digital divide between customers in metropolitan and regional areas.

"With its CPL platform, Nortel has provided us with the flexibility to do this cost-effectively, enabling us to balance the cost of transmission with the bandwidth we need for our regional customers," Perkins said.

The Nortel CPL platform has been deployed in more than 25 networks around the world, according to the company, and can be deployed alongside any of Nortel's optical network products.

Mark Stevens, Nortel Australia and New Zealand president, said the main advantages of the CPL platform are rapid time-to-market and cost-effective deployment on a large scale so carriers can extend their networks quickly to deliver more services at a lower cost.

"The CPL fundamentally changes the way optical networks transmit information by reducing the number of amplifiers needed for long-range, high bandwidth transmissions," Stevens said. "This makes it particularly suited to sparsely populated, expansive regions like Australia, where getting high bandwidth services to regional areas can be cost-prohibitive."

Nortel is providing network integration and maintenance services for Silk Telecom's optical network from its global services business.