Startup fibre carrier Inligo Networks says its plans for a national fibre network were prompted by the reality that there is no justification for connecting Darwin to its planned SE Asian-US network if it could not haul multiple terabits from there to the population centres of south eastern Australia.
As exclusively reported last week, Inligo is planning two cable systems: Asia Connect, which will link Singapore and the US via major population centres of Indonesia, Timor Leste and Darwin, Australia as well as Unite, initially a Darwin-Adelaide connection later to expand to east coast capitals.
In an interview with CommsDay, Inligo chief commercial officer Simon Zettl said: “We realised that with the demand we were serving to Guam and the US that we were dropping approximately 32 terabits into Darwin. But Darwin at present, has very limited capacity to the southern states, and we were surprised by what was there. There were really only two options and they’re both getting fairly long in the tooth and not able to provide that capacity that datacentre operators are going to be requiring.”
“We then started talking with some local partners around interest in a Darwin- Adelaide link, as phase one, because Adelaide has good connectivity already. So we thought if we could get the traffic to Adelaide, there’s still a very low latency, efficient path, that would help. And then phase two will be Adelaide to Sydney, and then Adelaide to Melbourne.”
Zettl said the completed system will shave 15% off the latency from Sydney to Singapore compared to using existing options.
“The design that we have and the technology we’re using will allow Customers to configure traffic all on the one platform. So it will be a homogenous platform all the way from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide backing out through to Jakarta, Singapore, Los Angeles and Tokyo. We’re putting them together because whilst ACC1 is the foundation cable, we’re constantly looking at what makes sense and what is very complementary to that system that gives customers more functionality and more optionality.”
Zettl also explained the strategy behind running the US link through the Java Sea and the plan to land in multiple destinations in Indonesia, namely Medan, Batam, Jakarta, Makassar and Manado.
“The Java Sea route was originally conceived to provide a path from Singapore but we always wanted to connect to Darwin and give Australia a north-bound connection stretching into the global network and also to connect Timor-Leste, because Timor- Leste is only serviced by satellite connections which are expensive and fraught with reliability issues, you know, being in the tropics,” Zettl explained.
“Last year the Indonesian government saw the inquiries around cables running through the Java Sea, so they announced a decree whereby all the cables coming in had to round in a number of specified sites within Indonesia, effectively north, south, east, west rounding points,” he continued.
“So that drove our cable path from Singapore into Batam, through to Jakarta. We went to Makassar because of the shift in the Indonesia capital from Jakarta to just north of Balikpapan (the new capital is called Nusantara), as we wanted to make sure we were capable of accommodating a connection into Balikpapan.”
EXECUTIVE TEAM BOOST
Zettl says Inligo’s south east Asia smarts have been bolstered by the appointment of two new board members with deep international experience. John Thompson is a former president & CEO of J-Phone Hokkaido in Japan, CTO of Vodafone Japan (now Softbank Mobile), CTO of Indosat Ooredoo Indonesia, CTO of Cable and Wireless Worldwide as well as senior roles in Vodafone Group and Bharti Airtel in India and Vodafone Germany. Most recently he was advisor to the CEO and CTO of XL Axiata in Indonesia. Tim Gigg had a career in global telecommunications companies such as Vodafone, FLAG Telecom (now GCX) and Global Crossing (Lumen).
Zettl himself has a background at Matrixx Software, BT and Vodafone Global Enter- prise while Inligo executive director Brian Evans is best known as the former head of Digital River Networks and was most recently at Telstra.
The key question with Inligo regards the source of its funding with the system set to require the best part of a billion dollars. The company has hinted that it will be making announcements on this front shortly.