by Georgina Swan

Fibre optic network slated for thousands of Melbourne CBD apartments

Mar 01, 2011

Some 2700 new apartments in the Melbourne CBD will be fitted out with fibre optic cable infrastructure in a project by engineering and sustainability firm, Umow Lai.

The development, known as the Upper West Side, is being built on the site of the former Lonsdale Street power station that borders Spencer Street.

The firm refers to the development as a ‘mini suburb’ due to the scale of the project but Umow Lai’s project team head, Andrew Oxley, said the company is up to the task of providing the infrastructure for a project its size.

“We will be supplying fibre optic cables for each and every one of the 2700 apartments,” he said. “This is quite a feat, even more so because it’s a first for a project of this size in Australia.”

The development will use Fibre to the Home (FttH) technology, making it one of the largest medium density unit projects in the CBD of any city in Australia, according to Umow Lai ICT consultant and project team member, Vivek Arya.

“With the National Broadband Network rollout beginning around Australia, the biggest challenge for the Umow Lai team has been to provide a design that was both cost effective and future proof,” Arya said.

“To meet this challenge, we are using a specially designed optic fibre solution capable of catering for ultra high-speed internet and next generation phone and TV services and our team has put together a remarkable solution. As well as being cost effective, it is truly innovative.” he said.

According to Umow Lai engineers, the firm is working closely with telecommunications carrier and ISP, Service Elements, which will provide carrier services to the development. Service Elements has been involved with the regular NBN Co briefings and carrier design meetings.

“There is an ongoing engagement between Umow Lai and market leading vendors and manufacturers that has ensured the designs are compliant with the latest industry standards and trends,” a company spokesperson said.

The network will integrate with the development’s security CCTV and the access control intercom system.

Construction is currently underway for the one and two bedroom apartments and 60 retail outlets and is expected to be completed in 2014.

Umow Lai has been working closely with Upper West Side’s developer, the Hong Kong-based Far East Consortium, and is also engaged on another large commercial project in LaTrobe Street’s Digital Harbour precinct.

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