An agreement between electricity lines company Network Tasman and TelstraClear allows the companies to use each other’s skills in extending telecommunications networks to users in the Nelson and Tasman regions, but it will shut out others — telcos and direct users — wanting to make use of Tasman’s “dark” fibre.
The arrangement has been many years in negotiation, beginning with the original Clear Communications and continuing through TelstraSaturn to TelstraClear.
As finally concluded, the deal commits Network Tasman to providing fibre in business areas and building a new 170km back-up fibre link from Nelson to Blenheim, where it will connect with the existing TelstraClear national fibre network.
TelstraClear will then expand the reach of Network Tasman’s network by deploying wireless local loop equipment and offering a full suite of services across fibre and wireless to businesses in the Nelson region.
The exact services to be offered have not yet been made public, but can be expected to be much the same mixture of voice, data and internet services offered to those within reach of the existing TelstraClear network, says spokesman Mathew Bolland.
He confirms TelstraClear will wholesale services to other providers over the network, and anyone who wants to take advantage of them will have to go through TelstraClear.
This means would-be purchasers of dark fibre in the area to set up community networks such as those in place in Canada and envisaged in New Zealand will have a TelstraClear margin built in.
There is no particular reason why negotiations were so protracted, Bolland says. “These things do take time; there were a lot of aspects to be considered.”
TelstraClear CEO Rosemary Howard says the company is interested in pursuing similar agreements in other regions to extend the range of its network.