Telstra selects Cisco for $A100 million to upgrade cable modem services

Telstra Corporation has signed an agreement with Cisco Systems to commence a $A100 million-plus project to migrate the carrier’s high-speed cable modem services to the Data over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) industry networking standard.

The agreement establishes a standards-based platform which will enable Telstra to offer a range of advanced IP services including voice over IP, virtual private networks, video-on-demand, interactive TV, streaming video, and a range of small office/home office (SOHO) and telecommuter services.

The high-end Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS), Internet Protocol (IP) infrastructure and related back-end systems being supplied by Cisco under the multi-year contract will give Telstra the capacity to provide its Big Pond Advance Powered by Cable service to 500,000 customers within five years. The company’s cable network passes 2.1 million homes in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney. Additionally, Telstra plans to offer services in Adelaide and Perth in 2001.

The move to DOCSIS, a worldwide IP-based standard for carrying data, from electronic mail to video, over hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) cable networks will enable Telstra to take advantage of wider industry innovation in such areas as voice transmission over cable networks.

Additionally, Telstra will gain access to cable modems from a wider range of vendors. Cisco is an industry leader in development of DOCSIS systems with deployments throughout the USA, Europe, Asia and South America.

Telstra and Cisco signed a Heads of Agreement to commence construction of the new network in May 2000. The project is now underway, with Telstra expecting to begin placing cable modem users on the new network from October 2000. Existing cable modem users will be transferred to the new network over time. To facilitate migration the existing and DOCSIS-based services will be delivered side-by-side on the network for as long as required.

Telstra plans to offer a range of telecommuter and SOHO services over the Big Pond Advance Powered by Cable network using Cisco’s uBR924 Cable Modem. These services are accredited under the Cisco Powered Network (CPN) program, with build out beginning later this year.

Telstra’s other CPN-accredited services include the Big Pond Internet network and parts of its corporate data network infrastructure, including its new gigabit Ethernet system codenamed ‘EpiCentre’.

Telstra plans to roll new cable modem services out to 1,000 new subscribers per week. The Cisco Subscriber Registration System (CSRC), purchased as part of this agreement, will enable Telstra’s customers to provision new services directly over the Internet. CSRC is a tightly integrated, end-to-end subscriber self-provisioning solution for DOCSIS-based cable modems and set-top boxes. By enabling cable operators to efficiently configure and manage DOCSIS devices, CSRC facilitates customer self-registration and service activation.

Key pieces of Cisco’s cable solution being deployed in the new network include Cisco’s uBR7246 Universal Broadband Router, Catalyst 6000 switch and CSRC. Telstra is also deploying the Cisco Information Center system for integrated network management.

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