With the future at our fingertips, technologies like a completed NBN, the emergence of 5G, machine-to-machine communications, AI and IoT will all individually and collectively require data – enormous amounts of data, which we have seen increase five-fold as we head towards 2020.

Our fixed broadband needs in our homes are ever-increasing due to the rising demands of video streaming and online gaming. 5G brings with it many clear advantages in bandwidth, capacity and reliability over 4G and 3G, but there are also many potential use cases that we don’t yet know about.

We see that our small, medium, enterprise and government business partners are also demanding higher bandwidth as they start to transform the experiences of their own customers.

On top of this, what we know unequivocally is that any new and growing technology will require data, plenty of it so people can seamlessly give purpose to our technology and applications.

It’s at this point when you can really start to understand a clear and obvious need for our Next Generation Optical Transport Network.

In 2016, as part of our Networks of the Future program, we accelerated our journey to build the Next Generation Optical Transmission Network – a landmark upgrade to our long-haul, regional and metropolitan data transport infrastructure.

This was no simple exercise, given not only the size and complexity of our network but also the challenges we face in Australia when it comes to the enormous distance between cities, and unique environmental factors in building next generation technology throughout some of the most remote and hottest regions of Australia.

We have now successfully connected all of our inter-capital paths and our 121 NBN point of interconnect locations across our transmission network. We can now support up to 11 times the capacity of our legacy network.

The new infrastructure provides enormous improvements to the reliability of our networks; for example, we recently introduced a capability into our optical network which now automates the rebuild and migration of services to another path when we experience a network fault such as a fiber break.

With the meshed nature of the new optical network, we are able to quickly reconfigure the network to stand up new routing paths within hours to reduce the overall risk of faults – this is something that previously would have taken days. In the future, we will be able to reconfigure the network within minutes in the event of a service disruption, providing our customers unprecedented connectivity.

Our new optical transport network will also see the introduction of software-defined network orchestration, which will enable the fast turn-up of optic wave services for our enterprise customers through the digital stack. Where we have the infrastructure in place, customers will be able to activate new services within hours rather than days or weeks.

The Next Generation Optical Transport Network is a significant and fundamental upgrade to the hidden infrastructure that powers our business across Australia. Along with our other upgrades as a part of our Network Evolution 2020 program as part of our T22 strategy, this milestone speeds up the delivery of products for our customers, as well as making it easier and faster for our partners to connect to our network and develop their own offerings.