Telstra pumps network iron for IPTV launch


The nation’s largest telco Telstra has unveiled plans to substantially re-work its network infrastructure to deal with a massive influx of data expected to flow through its pipes as part of its IPTV strategy, which will this month see its flagship T-Box device launch.

In a briefing in Sydney today, Telstra chief operations officer Michael Rocca said the telco would build a national footprint of 12 network and media centres around Australia — which will provide a caching function to ensure the speedily delivery of internet video.

The company’s BigPond TV channels — covering areas from live news to sport and music — will be delivered to the T-Box platform from these centres, as well as to IP-enabled televisions from manufacturers like Sony, Toshiba, LG, Samsung, Sharp and Panasonic.

Telstra chief technology officer Hugh Bradlow said in 2013, video would account for 91 percent of consumer traffic — quoting statistics from giant US networking vendor Cisco. Confounding the traffic headache for the telco is the move to high-definition. Telstra is planning to bring HD video on demand to the T-Box in the next six months.

Telstra’s executive director of Network and Technology, Michael Lawrey, provided a chunk of further information about how the network & media centres would be set up around the country.
For starters, he said, they would be standardised, distributed, modular, agile, have a low incremental cost and feature virtualised infrastructure.

Telstra will be the sole systems integrator for the centres, and they will have low power requirements. For example, one centre will be set up in the Haymarket telephone exchange in Sydney. Lawrey said that for 330kW worth of equipment load in the Haymarket facility, in previous Telstra configurations it would have taken a further 270kW of energy to cool the equipment.

With the new configuration, only 59kW will be required for cooling. The new racks will be setup on the existing concrete slab floor — not on raised computer floors, and extremely cheap LED light will be used.

Separately, acting Telstra chief information officer Ashley Lazaro (Telstra CIO John McInerney is on holidays) outlined the telco’s future datacentre strategy.

Lazaro said currently Telstra operated eight major datacentres across Australia — two major Sydney facilities including one in the massive Global Switch facility in Pyrmont and one in Melbourne with five other sites– a total floor space of 23,560 square metres using some 21.9MW.

In future, he said, Telstra would rationalise its IT infrastructure and expand high-density datacentre space in Melbourne, relocating load from other low power density sites.

The company is planning to standardise on a “strategic virtual platform” based on Intel x86 kit, and will consolidate and virtualise its Sun Microsystems SPARC platforms, as well as consolidating over 100 storae arrays to a handful in each site.

Image credit: Telstra


  1. You know, I honestly didn’t believe that Telstra was capable of having awesome ideas. On that point, I stand corrected.

    This has the potential to be a brilliant content delivery platform.

    • It’s true, Telstra is doing some really cool things now that the company has been set free from the shackles of Sol Trujillo. Suddenly it’s really open about talking to the press, cutting broadband and mobile prices, launching a nice polite blog, launching cool media centre products and delivery networks, launching and focusing on the HTC Desire, and so on and so on.

      Meanwhile, Optus’s network continues to fail, according to the many different people I have spoken to about it. I just don’t know what is going on there.

      • Now if only they didn’t have that “Telstra” stigma…

        Still got a way to go though. Although they’ve got this awesome, cap-free service, their download limits are still overly restrictive to make their ADSL2 service an attractive option.

  2. They don’t actually have a choice.
    The CDN choice they have selected is based on the Alcatel [acquired from Cachelogic] P2P solution.
    i.e.: Content to subscribers will be fed from other subscribers [if exist] and NOT their CDN servers.
    With Telstras policy of not peering with other ISP’s, an open environment VOD delivery using P2P would leave Telstra open to enormous chargebacks from other ISP’s transit charges.
    It’s a case of their previous anti-competitive habits have caught up with them It would serve them right if ACMA ruled against them on this issue.

    I find that possibility quite amusing…. Headline next year….. “Telstra’s LEGAL P@P kills them form VOD network demand…..”

    • Hmm I’m not really sure what you’re saying here Tom … are you saying Telstra’s cached delivery network is based on P2P? Because surely users would object to that?

  3. Actually Renai, that’s what I did say.

    P2P is quite a good delivery methodology – provided of course Telstra have worked the kinks out of billing for it.
    Which I doubt.
    So on that basis, If I was a Bigpond user, I would want assurances that any extra billing was not the result of my feeding content to other users of the Foxtel V.O.D. services……

    Although having crossed swords with Telstra on a number of occassions over billing, I doubt they’ve mastered the concept of “Dont rip off the customer… by rounding all transactions UP. He cant afford it.”

    The network cant possibly handle large scale video on Demand without P2P Renai, so it’s a logical next step for all carriers. Which Ive been spruiking for years…. However, I am concerned baout incompatibilities between the different forms of P2P on the networks….

    i.e.: Has anyone tested the CDS against Skype in a real-time environment yet ?
    (Skype also is a P2P delivered product.). The average Skype user – Without using his Skype connection with the exception of being logged on utilises approx 2 GB per month just from Skype P2P traffic from other users.

    Now if we could just make the Government understand that this next leap-frog in technology is only becuase thousands of users beta tested the platform for years through umpteen refinements.

    P2P CDN’s didnt just evolve in the last two weeks. Telstra have been part of the trials since 2006.
    (Cachelogic – which was sold to Alcatel.)

  4. @Matthew Hatton

    Uhhh, you know they do 100 and 200gb plans now right? Not the cheapest but still reasonably competitive. Take a look at the bundles, having a homephone + internet is actually cheaper than just internet on the higher plans. FYI, they just upgraded their cable infrastructure country wide on cable to allow speeds of up to 30mbps.

Comments are closed.