Vocus lays fibre across the Harbour

By Liz Tay on Jun 14, 2012 2:14 PM
Filed under Communications

Faster links to ASX data centre.

View larger image Telecommunications company, Vocus, installed fibre cables across Sydney Harbour, from Dawes ... View larger image The project involved some 20 suppliers and 1.6 kilometres of custom, armoured, 312-core ... View larger image Vocus Fibre general manager of operations Alex West (left) with the fibre laying team.

See all pictures here »

Data centre and telecommunications provider Vocus has laid two new fibre links across Sydney Harbour in a bid to decrease connection latency between the city's financial district and the recently opened ASX data centre in Gore Hill north of the bridge.

A total of 1.6 kilometres of armoured fibre was laid from Dawes Point in Sydney’s CBD to Milsons Point, and from Dawes Point to Blues Point.

The cable, rolled out for the first time this week, was seven months in the making and involved 20 contractors and custom, 312-core single-mode optical fibre cable from manufacturer Prysmian Cable Systems.

Vocus aimed to provide redundancy by laying two separate links, which would likely serve firms trading on both the ASX and rival stock exchange Chi-X, with the latter located in an Equinix data centre near the CBD.

The links supplement Vocus’ existing Sydney Tunnel Fibre, established about eight months ago.

“It’s great to have [multiple paths], so if something did happen to the Harbour Tunnel, we’d be one of the carriers with capacity,” chief executive officer James Spenceley said.

“It’s a one-in-a-million-year event but you just have to have it.”

Vocus’ fibre-laying team anchored the new cable at Dawes Point from about 8am on Thursday morning, with a barge and two divers guiding the fibre through the water to Blues Point.

The team returned to Dawes Point later in the morning to drag the second length of cable across the Harbour to Milsons Point. The process was scheduled to conclude at about 2pm.

Spenceley declined to disclose the project cost but said it was under $1 million.

He expected the new links to be ready for commercial use within two weeks, contributing “upwards of $1 million in revenue a year, and growing over time”.

“We’ve kept the project very quiet before actually building it; we didn’t want anyone else coming along and beating us to the lowest latency path,” he said.

“So we haven’t been advertising it to customers, but in the last couple of weeks, we’ve started talking to a number of carriers that are interested.”

In an investor presentation yesterday, Vocus said it expected to report revenues of up to $47 million for the financial year ending 30 June 2012, up 45 percent from the previous year (pdf).

Its revenue from fibre and ethernet services grew 186 percent to account for 14 percent of total revenue. Data centre services contributed 18 percent, voice 21 percent and internet 45 percent of revenue for the current financial year.

Vocus reported a total $8.13 million investment in new fibre links throughout the year, including the new cross-Harbour links.

The project required the approval of the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Sydney City and North Sydney Councils, State Government, Roads and Maritime Services, State Heritage and Sydney Harbour Bridge Authority.

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