In a recent meeting with the Senate Select Committee on the NBN in Hobart, Michael Larkin, general manager, service delivery at Aurora Energy, and group manager, strategic and government, Sean Terry, discussed the company’s proposal to use aerial, rather than underground, infrastructure for the Tasmanian rollout.

The proposal, which suggests that the NBN could be rolled out at a lower cost using Aurora’s existing aerial infrastructure in Tasmania rather than by installing new cables underground, was submitted to the government in November last year and awaiting a response.

Mr Terry said that Aurora has discussed the proposal informally with NBN Co. and that it was ‘favourably received’.

Mr Terry said that NBN Co has three choices for the Tasmanian rollout, to go aerial, to construct new underground infrastructure or use existing Telstra infrastructure.

Aurora is confident that their infrastructure is demonstrably robust and existing power poles will be able to support the NBN fibre, describing it as ‘just another cable job’.

‘We string cables on poles every day of the year,’ said MrLarkin. ‘Fibre is no different. We have our own fibre network that we use here that is strung aerially. We have been building aerial infrastructure, in particular fibre to the premise aerial infrastructure, since the early 2000s. We deployed the TasCOLT network on the back of our infrastructure, totally avoiding Telstra infrastructure. That network are still in operation today.’

The aerial fibre in Aurora’s network bypasses Telstra’s copper network and goes directly to the premises unlike NBN Co’s current rollout.

“It is really just a matter for NBN in terms of their design architecture and also their costing issues about which deployment method they want to use. The capacity to use aerial exists today,” Mr Terry said.

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