Next IP was one of the key planks of Telstra's transformation strategy announced in November 2005 by then CEO Sol Trujillo. At its heart is a national network of Cisco CRS-1 core routers each capable of scaling up to push through a massive 72tbps. However, Alcatel, Juniper Networks and Tellabs all contributed a significant amount of gear to the overall project and Alcatel was chosen to be the overall systems integrator responsible for delivering the entire network.
Telstra's group managing director, Networks and Services, Michael Rocca said that the network had been planned with a 20 year horizon and designed to be scalable to meet anticipated demand over that timeframe. However he said that the initial project, as envisioned in 2005 was now about 90 percent complete.
"Next IP is the largest fully integrated national IP network in the world "and it underpins all the other networks that we offer," he told the briefing. "Regardless of what happens with the NBN it is an access technology and we are here today to talk about the core network because ultimately that is how we bring products and services to our customers."
Although almost everything about the NBN today is vague. The one certainty is that it is not envisioned as a complete end-to-end service delivery network that Telstra possesses though the combination of Next IP and a wide variety of access networks. At the minimum the NBN could simply be an access network connected to Next IP or any other network capable of delivering services to NBN-connected customers.
That certainly seems to be how Telstra sees it. When iTWire asked where Telstra saw the demarcation between NBN access network and networks such as Next IP, executive director, Network and Technology, Michael Lawrey, said: "You will have multiple access networks that connect into the sort of services and facilities that Telstra provides today and NBN will just be one of the access environments that will enable that connectivity. What it looks like and where the connection points are located are still up for discussion. It is about working through that with the government in a positive way."
Telstra already serves more of those customers than any other telco today and what the Next IP presentation was all about was telling the World that Next IP makes Telstra better equipped by far than any other service provider in Australia to deliver services to end users regardless of what access network is used, or what those services are since all will, in the future, be delivered as IP data packets.
When the NBN starts to rollout more of the people the network passes will be customers of Telstra than of any other service provider. Not only does Telstra have, in Next IP, a network with scale and capability that, in all likelihood, is ahead of anything else in Australia, that network already connects to more access networks and more customers than any other network. This makes Telstra extremely well placed to offer services not only to customers on the NBN but services which span multiple fixed and mobile access networks.
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