Vocus Reveals “Clear Growth Plan” For $1 Billion Investment Program

Kevin Russell (Vocus Band)

Credit: Vocus Group

Vocus has unveiled new details of its five-year investment plan for its enterprise arm, Vocus Network Services (VNS), saying it will cost the telecommunications service provider “almost” $1 billion.

Speaking at the CommsDay Summit 2022, Vocus CEO Kevin Russell said the provider had a “clear plan for growth and investment” and was focused on a variety of different markets.

This includes digitization and the cloud, increased bandwidth, security, new technologies such as Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, regionalization and the edge.

In order to respond to these markets, Russell said that VNS has put in place a five-year investment program approaching $1 billion, which is based on the five key pillars of expanding its geographic network, level of network capacity, improving security credentials, using new technologies. and enriching its product range.

Russell said VNS’ ambitions for geographic network expansion include its $100 million maritime cable contract for the Darwin-Jakarta-Singapore cable, known as Project Highclere.

As part of this project, Vocus is to provide the final cable link, linking the Australia-Singapore Cable (ASC) to the North West Cable System (NWCS) in Port Hedland, Western Australia.

This is expected to interconnect with the 4,600 kilometer CSA between Perth and Singapore and the 2,100 kilometer NWCS between Port Hedland and Darwin, with the completed system expected to be online by mid-2023.

He also referred to Project Horizon – his plan to roll out a 2,000 kilometer high-capacity fiber optic connection from Perth to Port Hedland in Western Australia.

Additionally, Russell said Vocus began planning and designing a cable system for Australia’s east coast following an increase in capacity demands, particularly a demand for long-term capacity and more redundancy.

“This new submarine cable system between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane would complement our existing coastal and inland fiber routes,” Russell said.

“While our network has proven incredibly resilient to bushfires and flooding, this underwater system would meet our customers’ growing desire for dark fiber, redundancy and resiliency.

“The East Coast Cable System is designed as a 1,000-mile system with up to 24 fiber pairs – the highest subsea fiber count system we will have deployed.”

The second major focus of the upgrade builds on Vocus’ existing work with the NT government through the joint Terabit Territory project, which will see Vocus deploy 200 Gbps (Gigabits per second, per wavelength) technology on its home fiber network in Darwin.

Other upgrades include raising the standard for its customers to 400GB through its national fiber backbone, with 100GB for regional routes.

“Our main regional routes will be upgraded to up to 20 times their current capacity and supplemented with new undersea routes,” Russell said.

“Our inter-capital roads will be improved up to 5 times their current capacity.

“Our metro fiber will be upgraded in all capitals.”

For its planned security upgrade, Russell said Vocus has doubled its investment in security and expects it to be doubled again next year with the addition of new technologies, software and employees.

“With the ‘Security of Critical Infrastructure’ and Systems of National Importance legislation recently passed by Parliament, we see security as a core part of our business and a strong go-to-market opportunity as we add more of products and services to our secure, separate network,” he said.

Russell also referred to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite systems, announcing them as “on the cusp of the most significant change in telecommunications technology in decades.”

“LEOs offer speed, latency and throughput comparable to fixed line and fixed wireless technologies,” he said.

“They will deliver a generational leap in regional and remote connectivity and provide a new last mile solution where trench fiber is not economically viable.”

Vocus has already jumped on the LEO bandwagon, building 16 ground stations in Australia over the course of a year. In addition, Vocus New Zealand appeared to be in the spotlight last year to potentially build an earth station south of Whangārei, New Zealand to support Starlink Low Earth Orbit satellite broadband service. Elon Musk.

The final pillar of the investment program, Product Enrichment, sees Vocus build on its work over the past three years of streamlining legacy networks, retiring legacy products and decommissioning legacy systems, to focus on connectivity, Russell said.

“Speed ​​is everything, and we’ve built a reputation as a market leader in delivering new services using pre-provisioned capacity,” he said.

He also said that for products outside of Vocus’ core offerings, the vendor has refined its partner solution strategy.

“We will work with partners to deliver private 5G networks, LEO connectivity and cloud services,” he said.

Along with Vocus’ investment plans, Russell also said the vendor is considering internal separation of its retail business – which includes Dodo, iPrimus and Commander – in order to pursue a future sale or IPO. .

At the end of his speech, Russell also pleaded with both major parties not to have “another narrow, short-term, unsustainable NBN.” [National Broadband Network] targeted policy.

Instead, he said he would prefer a policy that focuses on “sustainable competition, prioritizes private investment in infrastructure, and embraces the deployment of new technologies that can improve our country’s digital capability.”

“In the five federal elections since 2007, the two major parties have presented different NBN policies and the current government has implemented its vision for the NBN,” he said.

“With the deployment of the NBN complete, the government’s current telecommunications policy has focused on maximizing the value of the investment.

“This singular focus is in direct opposition to Australia’s historical focus of promoting private investment in infrastructure.

“As a result, we now have a market where a government-owned monopoly receives taxpayer funding to compete with alternative private infrastructure – and where competing private operators are directly taxed to subsidize that monopoly.”

As a result, he claimed it had led to “mission creep” in competitive markets throughout the NBN’s existence, but more so in recent years.

“NBN’s latest mission infiltrating third-party data centers, an existing competitive market, has a direct impact on how we at Vocus plan to invest in new fiber,” he said. .

“A government monopoly pushing into contestable markets can only have a negative impact on private investment in infrastructure.”



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Ryan H. Bowman