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Thursday, 24 June 2010 17:17

Alcatel-Lucent gets first NBN Co FTTH contracts

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NBN Co has named Alcatel-Lucent as the initial supplier of Gigabit passive optical networking (GPON) and ethernet aggregation equipment for the FTTH component of the NBN, with the award of contracts worth $85m.

NBN Co's head of corporate services, Kevin Brown, said NBN Co had committed to spend $70m with Alcatel-Lucent on with the option to buy as much equipment as it needed as the project grew in scale.

The contract covers an unspecified number of optical network terminators (ONTs) - the unit installed in a customer's premises, the optical line terminators (OLTs) - installed in the fibre acess nodes (general Telstra exchanges) and connected to the access network fibre - and ethernet aggregation products for installation in the aggregation nodes and in NBN Co's points of interconnect with retail service providers.

In total NBN will require some 10 million ONTs,  and there will be 700 fibre access nodes, 200 aggregation nodes and an unspecified number of PoIs.

NBN Co has also entered into a $15 million contract for Alcatel-Lucent to provide services over the next 12 months to assist with engineering and testing activities in the initial deployment of technology for the fibre network.

Brown said that to avoid any perception of conflicts of interest from previous employment both the CEO, Mike Quigley, and the CFO, Jean-Pascal Beaufret, did not participate in the decision by the executive committee to select Alcatel-Lucent, or negotiate any price arrangement within this agreement. Nor did they participate in the Board approval to select Alcatel-Lucent for any of these contracts.  Both previously held very senior positions in Alcatel-Lucent globally.

'We plan to spend up to $1.5 billion on this highly-specialised network equipment during the lifetime of this project...The contract with Alcatel-Lucent allows NBN Co to purchase what it needs when it needs it, and allows NBN Co to engage other suppliers at a later date of our choosing,' Brown said.

He said that during the construction phase the rollout of the fibre network would be passing as many as 4,000 premises a day at its peak and that once NBN Co achieves full rollout scale, it intends to engage other GPON equipment suppliers whose equipment will interoperate with Alcatel-Lucent's GPON equipment.

'The active equipment is manufactured in large-scale electronics facilities offshore, however all installation and testing will occur locally, and will rely on over 500 engineers Alcatel-Lucent has based in Australia, and over 200 engineers in NBN Co itself," Brown said.

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