We’re redesigning our architecture from top to bottom, to handle growing customer demands and into the future to realise our vision of Australia’s largest, fastest, smartest, safest and most reliable network.
This vision is backed by a once-in-a-generation investment of up to $3 billion in the strategic Networks for the Future and Digitisation programs, to drive a step change in customer experience, launch new market-leading products and services, handle ever-growing data volumes at the highest levels of reliability and while significantly reducing costs.
Significant progress has already been made in achieving this vision, Chief Operating Officer Robyn Denholm told the audience at the Telstra Vantage, our annual technology showcase in Melbourne. The imminent arrival of the low latency, high-capacity 5G, the next generation of mobile technology, headlined the event, but Robyn outlined the end-to-end transformation of Telstra’s networks also underway.
“I've been privileged to lead the team that's working on the Networks for the Future program across the company,” Denholm told IN:SIGHT. “In this program we have been changing the fundamentals of the network by using new world leading technology. We are deploying state-of-the-art optical transport technology in our transmission network, software-defined networking and virtualised components, which will create a more flexible, dynamic and resilient network for our customers.”
“The technology will create a new kind of network. It will help break down the distinction between fixed and mobile products and the distinction between IT and network services. It will allow new products to be built in weeks not months. It will give our customers the power to program the network themselves and it will enable flexible quality of service tailored to the needs of each customer.”
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Timing, as they say, is everything. Telstra’s network transformation is occurring during an explosion in data consumption, driven by video streaming, cloud computing and a proliferation of connected devices as the Internet of Things (IoT) takes off. This is combined with growing expectations of network reliability and resilience.
The Networks for the Future program helps tackle these challenges by transforming our network core using next generation technology, reinforcing mobile network leadership, rolling out 5G, providing an ‘always on’ service and delivering a smooth transition to the nbn.
Denholm described the fact the company is more than two-thirds of the way through implementing the program. We have invested $1.6 billion, which is on top of the billions we invest in our networks as part of business as usual.
The benefits of this investment can now be seen in the fact we offer around one million square kilometres more mobile coverage than any other carrier, and that Telstra’s networks were recently named the fastest nationally for both fixed and mobile services in the 2018 Speedtest Awards by Ookla. While our past 12 months have not been perfect, we have reduced mobile customer outage hours by more than 80% since June 2016.
Additionally, we’re supporting innovation with Australia’s largest IoT network. Our Narrowband IoT coverage now reaching more than 3.5 million square kilometres and Cat M1 coverage of around 3 million square kilometres, offering great opportunities to a range of sectors like transport, logistics, mining and agriculture. Telstra is the only carrier in Australia and one of the first carriers in the world to offer both Narrowband and Cat M1 IoT technologies.
However, now much of the foundational work has been completed, the program is set to really take off over the next 12 months.
Going forward, our new network capabilities will support a simplified product suite across all segments, including the launch of innovative new services in areas like IoT and cybersecurity. They will enable us to lead the market on 5G, ensuring Australians are among the first in the world to benefit from the next generation of wireless technology.
“Today, with the investments that we've already made and the technology advancements that we've implemented, we've brought down our mobile outage hours for our customers by more than 80%.”– Robyn Denholm, Chief Operating Officer
Denholm also touched on the importance of our new Operational Support System – ‘Next Gen OSS’ –one of the transformational changes the program is delivering.
“With Next Gen OSS we gain new insights and data on the performance of our network. We collect almost 8 terabytes of data from the network daily, which is used for activities such as root cause analysis if there are issues and understanding customer usage patterns to prioritise future capacity.
“OSS help us detect or even pre-empt problems that could be in the network to help us provide an ‘always on’ service. It will also underpin new levels of transparency for our customers, who will be able to know how their services are performing at the touch of a button.”