The Regional Backbone Blackspots Program (RBBP) was an Australian Government initiative with the specific objective of providing competitive wholesale backbone services to underserved regional markets.
Vocus (as its Nextgen Networks business) won the role to design, construct, manage, operate, and maintain these new backbone transmission links on behalf of the Australian Government.
Service locations are set out in accordance with the high-level map as below. Products include transmission, IP, and colocation services suitable for wholesale backhaul purposes.
RBBP services offered by Vocus on open and equivalent terms and conditions to the market as part of strict contractual obligations with the Australian Government. In practical terms, this means that Vocus cannot obtain an advantage when directly selling its own RBBP services to entities other than wholesale customers. The Agreement with the Australian Government defines wholesale customers as Carriers, Carriage Service Providers, ISPs, Systems Integrators, Broadcast Transmission Providers, and Utilities.
As part of its National Broadband Network (NBN) commitment, the Australian Government allocated up to $250 million in funding to improve backbone transmission market outcomes to a number of priority ‘blackspot’ locations.
In July 2009, the Commonwealth issued a Request for Tender (RFT) to build, operate, and maintain backbone transmission links under the Regional Backbone Blackspot Program (RBBP) to six priority locations:
Following the conclusion of a competitive tender process, Vocus (as Nextgen Networks) was selected to build, operate and maintain almost 6,000km of new fibre network assets. Vocus also made a substantial financial contribution to the RBBP. Contracted to build the RBBP network on behalf of the Australian Government, it developed core features of the backbone transmission network incorporating:
The offer of a full range of transmission and associated services for access seekers, including:
Vocus offers wholesale services using the RBBP network assets on an open and equivalent basis, enforced through contractual terms and the funding of the agreement with the Australian Government. The network design, technical features and commercial arrangements for RBBP have been established to extend the service reach and business opportunities for a wide range of communications industry operators.
Construction activities commenced in February 2010. All infrastructure links associated with the RBBP routes were completed within 18 months from this time. Shorter routes within the network were delivered even earlier. The design and construction activities were undertaken by partner company Visionstream.
This initiative was made possible with the support of the Australian Government’s National Broadband Network Regional Backbone Blackspots Program.