Qld govt-owned QCN Fibre to bolster state's NBN backhaul coverage

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Qld govt-owned QCN Fibre to bolster state's NBN backhaul coverage

Brisbane-based telecommunications company QCN Fibre has announced plans to expand its fibre network to the whole state of Queensland and provide access to NBN backhaul to more retail service providers.

QCN is a Queensland government-owned telco jointly owned by Powerlink Queensland and Energy Queensland that uses spare capacity on the state-owned optical fibre network to sell backhaul services to telcos.

The company was founded in 2019 to compete against the state’s largest backhaul providers, Telstra and Optus, and provide better internet connectivity to regional Queensland.

QCN currently has an existing network covering six regional NBN Points of Interface (POIs) in Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns. The company now intends to connect to all 22 POIs across Queensland.

QCN Fibre chief executive Derek Merdith said, “Our launch strategy was to activate services to these key regional centres by mid-2020. We have achieved that.”

“Now, we continue to improve coverage, capacity and competition throughout Queensland, through connecting to all 22 NBN PoIs.”

Merdith said when QCN inspected the 12,000km of fibre inherited from Powerlink Queensland and Energy Queensland, and considered market conditions, the company found that connecting to all 22 NBN PoIs became both technically achievable and “a competitive necessity”.

“Today, there are only two primary backhaul providers to the six regional PoIs. Whilst NBN provides some competition, small ISPs must ultimately rely on a limited range of suppliers for backhaul services from the PoI to Brisbane. Regional backhaul currently costs several times that of metropolitan backhaul,” Merdith said.

“QCN Fibre’s NBN backhaul strategy is critical in supporting local businesses across regional Queensland. Through lowering backhaul prices, our customers should be able to lower the cost of NBN business grade services to our regions. Levelling the playing field means that NBN internet service providers can compete with the national carriers.”

The company partnered with networking equipment vendor Ciena, rolling out its Waveserver Ai compact interconnect platform and other gear.

QCN will offer 1GbE, 10GbE and 100GbE NBN backhaul options. There are also plans to
provide Virtual Network to Network Interface (VNNI) backhaul services to help smaller local telcos scale and grow and minimise the need to invest in expensive infrastructure.

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