Telecom New Zealand has announced that it will press forward with an upgrade of its Australian unit AAPT’s fibre-optic network with a view to ensuring the subsidiary remains competitive. According to iTnews, Telecom NZ chief executive Paul Reynolds said that, having first unveiled plans to upgrade the infrastructure in September 2009, the ‘best capacity, lowest price deployment [was] absolutely vital’ in order that AAPT ‘compete and work effectively in the National Broadband Network (NBN) world.
The first phase of the project – a coastal link upgrade between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne – has already been completed, with an AAPT spokesman saying of the development: ‘It means we can deliver considerably more capacity over our optical fibre: 70Gbps between Sydney and Melbourne and 60Gbps between Sydney and Brisbane.’ The Australian telco has said that it expects to have its inland and eastern regions, including Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, completed before the end of 2010.
Last month Telecom New Zealand announced that, following several unsuccessful attempts, it had divested the consumer operations of AAPT to alternative operator iiNet, with the latter paying AUD60 million (USD54 million) for the business, while Telecom has also sold its 18.2% stake in iiNet for around AUD70 million. The two sales, coupled with Telecom’s earlier sale of its holding in Australia-based Macquarie Telecom, were undertaken as part of the New Zealand outfit’s strategic review of its Australian interests, with Telecom CEO Paul Reynolds noting: ‘Together these transactions rationalise non-core assets, strengthen Telecom’s financial position, and help reposition AAPT’s operations into a focused, network-centric wholesale and corporate business that is well-positioned for future growth.’