$20m Transpower gig boosts TelstraClear's network

Telco lays more South Island fibre to deliver monitoring and control service

TelstraClear’s South Island fibre investment is paying off, with the company winning a 10-year deal worth $20 million to supply network services to Transpower.

The deal will allow the company to extend its network further into a number of South Island towns.

TelstraClear says the completion of its South Island fibre ring was key to winning the contract, under which it will supply Transpower, which operates New Zealand's electricity transmission grid, with enhanced fibre services from its Next IP network.

Transpower chief executive Patrick Strange says Transpower is looking at opportunities to make the national grid smarter.

“Connecting to 19 sites in the South Island will help us build a consistent, resilient infrastructure with low latency in the South Island,” he says in a statement.

“This will assist us greatly when connecting new equipment and assets to the national grid, and enhance our operating and monitoring processes,” he says.

To service Transpower’s substations, TelstraClear will have to extend its core network up to 20kms in some cases, says Mark Wilson, head of enterprise and government for the telco. As it does so, it intends to serve as many people as it can along the way.

“It’s not a bespoke build for Transpower,” he says.

The network will be extended in towns such as Ashburton, Timaru, Oamaru, South Dunedin and Invercargill, as well as some smaller towns, Wilson says.

The network will be used for Transpower’s supervisory control and data acquisition, or SCADA, applications. SCADA applications are built around sensors and used for monitoring and controlling industrial processes. These networks require very good latency to manage switching operations.

Wilson says because of that latency requirement, the Next IP network was really the only network capable of delivering the service Transpower needs.

TelstraClear completed its 950km fibre ring in January, connecting the South Island’s main centres.

In total, it now has more than 6,000km of fibre cable laid in New Zealand.

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