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NEC invests in Nextep network

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NEC has made a multi-million investment in its Nextep broadband network in a bid to vamp up its competitive offering ahead of the NBN deployment. The infrastructure investment is the first major upgrade for the network for a number of years but demand and opportunity afforded by the government’s Regional Blackspot’s Programme (RBBP) allowed the vendor to move ahead with upgrade plans.

Bolstered by the network expansion NEC will also be significantly pushing into cloud communications with UNIVERGE 3C, a software-based video, voice and text platform and a suite of biometric solutions.

In July, Juniper was named the key vendor for the project to move the Nextep network from ATM to MPLS. While in January the final link from Darwin to Toowoomba went live in the expansive RBBP deployment.

As part of the network rebuild Nextep now has 156 DSLAMs, up from the original 92, which was partly subsidised by the RBBP.

With one of Australia’s largest DSLAM networks, NEC Australia’s Nextep network now provides wide area connectivity and data service access to urban, metropolitan and regional users.

The RBP uses transmission services supplied by Nextgen Networks, coupled with NEC Australia’s newly deployed 62 DSLAMs across 5 backbone links in regional areas of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia

Nextep's Mark Grooby told The Register, “our business hasn’t necessitated growth for our DSLAM requirements for a number of years, but market factors showed us that now was the time to do it, particularly with the opportunity to offer broadband to regional Australia.”

The opening of the Darwin fibre optic backbone link in January marked the completion of the network construction phase of the government’s $AU250 million RBBP.

The RBBP has now delivered over 6,000 kilometres of fibre backbone across regional Australia, benefiting around 400,000 people and more than 100 regional locations.

The RBBP also forms part of the building blocks for the NBN. Grooby confirmed that Nextep would be signing a service provision agreement with NBN in the next quarter.

Other links include South Australia to Broken Hill, NSW, and Shepparton, Victoria; Perth to Geraldton link in WA; McLaren Vale to Victor Harbor and Mt Barker in SA and South West Gippsland in Victoria.

“The Gippsland run has been very successful. There is a great deal of interest and success with our wholesale customers, mainly because we have strong relationships with the local communications providers,” Grooby said. ®

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