Australian operator Telstra has announced plans to construct five major routes as part of its Intercity Fibre project and expand fibre connections in Western Australia's Pilbara region. The project, first announced in February 2022, began construction in March 2022. Telstra highlighted that these investments aim to deliver next-generation digital infrastructure in response to the growing demand for connectivity.
Telstra commented, "As the largest investor in digital infrastructure in Australia we are uniquely positioned to design and deliver this critical infrastructure, which will enable ultrafast connectivity between capital cities. Importantly, we have future-proofed the design and given ourselves the ability to extend this connectivity into regional and remote communities as demand grows and other partnerships arise, which will open up opportunities for regionally based industries and businesses."
Services and Applications
The enhanced connectivity is poised to strengthen Australia's fibre resilience and support various services, including cloud computing, AI, remote work and education, health services, high-definition entertainment, online gaming, and IoT applications like mining and agriculture. Telstra also noted persistent demand from hyper scalers seeking higher capacity and more direct routes.
Telstra InfraCo's Infrastructure
According to the statement, Telstra InfraCo already has the largest fibre and duct network in Australia, covering 250,000km of fibre optic cable connecting 133 data centres. The Intercity Fibre project is expected to further extend this infrastructure with thousands more kilometres of ultra-high capacity, ultra-low latency connections.
Telstra initially announced the first five priority routes in August 2022, with construction underway and over 400 km of cable already laid. Telstra said the detailed planning for the additional five routes, including the connection from Adelaide to Darwin, which is set to begin construction in 2025, is currently in progress.
Other annual construction activities involve deploying over 3,300 km of fibre in FY23 across various use cases, including DC-to-DC, fixed wireless backhaul, and enterprise fibre. Telstra said it is also engaged in mobile tower and infrastructure upgrades, commercial and recoverable works programs, and significant projects such as the Tasmanian Government radio network upgrade.
Pilbara Network Upgrade
Looking ahead, Telstra plans ten routes, a major Pilbara region fibre network expansion, and upgrades for FY23-FY27. Telstra said it will invest to expand infrastructure in this region to capture growing demand and support customers, as well as enhance the resiliency of the network across key routes, expanding Telstra's fibre footprint in the region, including around 165 km of new fibre build for use by Telstra customers to connect additional mining sites.