The first phase, now well underway, is a 20km ring around the Melbourne CBD and Port Melbourne, connecting the data centres Aussie Broadband uses and the Exhibition and Port Melbourne NBN points of interconnect (POI).
"It's going quite well," Aussie Broadband co-founder and CTO John Reisinger told iTWire, even though Melbourne's bluestone pavers and the regulations concerning them make it one of the more difficult areas for the build.
The motivation for the project was the long planning horizon required for using fibre wavelengths on Telstra's fibres. It takes anything from three to nine months from ordering to provisioning an additional 10Gb wavelength, so the company has had to predict customer numbers and demand nine months ahead, he said.
With its own 720-core fibre cables in place, all Aussie Broadband will need to do to add bandwidth to a POI is order a new network-to-network interface (NNI) from NBN Co, which is a much quicker process.
This will allow the company to be more responsive and better able to scale, Reisinger said. The private fibre network will give Aussie Broadband more headroom to deal with the 25% a year growth in data traffic.
"It gives us flexibility and control over how we provision our network," he said.
This is particularly important for Aussie Broadband's Carbon platform that provides business customers with self-service ordering and customisation of products including internet services, data centre connections, phone systems, MPLS networks, and SD-WAN networks.
But the fibre rollout is "not a quick project." Connecting to more than 75 NBN POIs and a couple of dozen data centres will take around two years. "We can run multiple projects at once," and sections of the network will go live as they are completed.
Once the Melbourne ring is complete, the next stage (as far as Victoria is concerned) will be to run fibre out to the suburban POIs, possibly starting in the east of the metropolitan region.
Reisinger said pits have been installed at strategic locations to allow fibre to be pulled from POIs to the ring.
Next on the agenda is Sydney, where a similar strategy will be followed. "We will end up in the five main states," he said, but because there is only one POI in Darwin and two in Tasmania there is no point in Aussie Broadband installing its own fibre in those areas.
The company plans to use its fibre network to offer businesses with at least 20 employees the option of direct fibre connections. Regulations prevent Aussie Broadband offering such a service to small business or residential customers unless it makes certain structural changes to the company.
These fibre connections will support speeds up to 10Gbps – Reisinger said such customers are likely to want more than 1Gbps, especially with the additional load caused by employees working from home.
Initially, these services will only be offered within approximately 1km of Aussie Broadband's fibre cables, but "we may relax that restriction going forward," he said.
Multiple tenants of one building will be able to have independent fibre connections, Reisinger added.
In related news, ICT connectivity specialist Warren & Brown Technologies (WBT) has announced it will supply ultra high density fibre optic infrastructure products to Aussie Broadband for this project.
Designed and manufactured in Melbourne, the products include custom optical fibre distribution frames, high density fibre management trays, fibre cabling and other data centre fibre and copper cabling equipment.
WBT marketing and business development manager Ben Ciardullo said "being an Australian company with local design and manufacturing capabilities enables us to be responsive to the needs of the market, as well as providing any customisations if required."
Aussie Broadband managing director Phillip Britt said "Warren & Brown Technologies will play a fundamental role in supporting Aussie Broadband's network during these critical times for enhanced connectivity. We are proud to partner with a local optical fibre manufacturer."