The three keys to connect U.S. Federal Customers to the Indo-Pacific – and to the moon

December 10, 2020

4 min read

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Half a century ago, the entire world held its breath as US Federal technology powered three men to do something that was once unthinkable - to walk on the surface of the moon.

People on every continent watched Neil Armstrong put his feet on the lunar surface and utter a phrase that has gone down in history. While it was “one small step” for the astronauts on the moon, the mission was the culmination of years of technological innovation and partnership between the United States government and a range of partners – including Telstra.

A little known fact in that story is the work of Telstra, while we were still known as the Overseas Telecommunications Commission, was integral not only to provide NASA with clear signals from outer space, but without it the world’s TV viewers wouldn’t have been able to watch history unfold live in front of their eyes.

Fifty years on, Telstra is still providing reliable, secure, and scalable solutions for the US Federal Government – although perhaps slightly closer to home.

We apply three key learnings based on our experience, expertise, and execution when we connect our partners and their US Federal customers to the Indo-Pacific Command AOR (INDOPACOM).

Experience

The Apollo 11 example is instructive because it highlights the essential importance of experience not only with the US government, but in the places where they want to connect. And today, the INDOPACOM AOR is one of the most important regions of US Federal focus.

The Indo-Pacific region is one of the most challenging places in the world to connect with securely, reliably, and effectively. The region experiences the highest levels of cable damage and potentially long repair lead times if your partner isn’t well acquainted with its nuances.

Federal service integrators need a partner with the experience of working in these circumstances and with boots on the ground to fix things when they go wrong. At Telstra, we have more than 70 years of operational experience and over 1,600 employees worldwide – most of them in the INDOPACOM region.

Expertise

All of that experience counts for naught without the team to put it into practice. That requires autonomy and accountability to make decisions and a dedicated focus from a single team.  Our US Federal team brings together sales, engineering, delivery, and service management and enables our partners to execute on the required missions to achieve their goals as efficiently and securely as possible. 

That expertise has to be complemented by network investments and ownership.  At Telstra, we own and operate one of the world’s leading subsea cable networks, spanning approximately 250,000 miles and serving up to a third of the INDOPACOM region’s IP traffic.

The Telstra network also enables us to create unique, innovative solutions to deal with local challenges. Due to the inherent problems connecting in a part of the world beset by disasters such as typhoons and tsunamis, as well as being one of the world’s busiest when it comes to shipping (which can easily damage subsea cables), we have created market-leading products that have built-in resiliency and protection on subsea routes. No other provider has the level of protection that we have on our ‘Always On’ platform, which guarantees assured availability across Asia’s busiest subsea routes. We created this platform to meet customer needs – allowing our customers’ services to be rerouted to a protection path within a matter of minutes and having three completely diverse routes accessible at all times to the customer on the route.

Execution

While some Federal network architectures are approaching more than 20 years of service, we have seen infrastructure design evolve through numerous technological changes in recent years, from data consolidation to network conversions in the transition from copper to cloud.

Forward-thinking CIOs are talking about cloud technology and bandwidth on demand these days, but the challenges remain when it comes to how executing these upgrades.   Making change in an agile way remains critical for Federal missions, especially as factors like COVID-19 or spikes in capacity impact delivery timeframes.

For example, instead of reverting to network builds that could take up to 9 months, Telstra Federal team delivered alternative designs in just 30 days using the Telstra Programmable Network (TPN), our software-defined networking platform. TPN provides Federal customers and systems integrators a bandwidth-on-demand platform between data centers that can be implemented quickly and dynamically.

For Federal agencies operating or moving into the INDOPACOM region, Telstra stands ready as a world-class telecommunications partner with unrivaled scale, infrastructure and expertise in the region.