Telstra carves out niche in N. America serving up connectivity to Asia

Telstra is a name most closely associated with Australia, but the operator has been doing business outside the country for about 70 years. It’s had a presence in North America specifically for about the past 25 years and is now looking to use its extensive network of undersea cables in the Pacific to boost growth in the U.S. and Canada.

Nicholas Collins, Telstra’s Americas president, told Fierce the company’s focus on providing connectivity from North America to the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is “very deliberate” and leverages Telstra’s existing strengths.

He explained the operator serves two primary customer groups in the Americas: large telcos and enterprises across the financial, media and technology segments. It provides wholesale trans-Pacific connectivity to the former and a mix of connectivity plus value-added services like SD-WAN, intelligent networking and VPN to the latter.

Heading into 2022, Collins said Telstra has a three-pronged strategy to increase growth in North America. First, he said the operator is investing in expanding its network, for example through the deployment of a new 13,500km subsea cable connecting the U.S. to Australia. This cable, which is set to come online in mid-2022, is “really important” because it will provide a low-latency route between the two countries and “will go a long way to increasing the capacity we’ve got across the Pacific region at the moment,” he said.

RELATED: Telstra beefs up network infrastructure in U.S. to improve connectivity to Asia-Pacific region

The operator is also expanding its points of presence (PoPs) in both the U.S. and Canada. A new location in Virginia is set to come online “in the coming weeks” and in 2022 Telstra is aiming to increase its number of PoPs in Canada from one to five. Its existing PoP there is in Toronto and the additions will target “the key gateway cities you’d expect to see,” Collins said.

Collins said the second part of its strategy is focused on product packaging and effectively providing a combination of overlay and underlay services using both its own network infrastructure and partnerships to serve enterprise clients.

The third element of its plan is industry specialization. Collins explained this means using Telstra’s unique network capabilities to target specific segments, with financial services and the broadcast sector being two key targets.

“We continue to see strong demand between the United States and Asia and that’s really our focus as we go into 2022. Growth is absolutely everything we continue to focus on here in the Americas,” Collins stated. In terms of growth targets, Collins said Telstra "will be adding in excess of 70 terabits/second of capacity across our international network by June 2022," noting more than half of its new capacity will be within the Asia-Pacific region. 

RELATED: Vodafone woos enterprises in quest for double-digit growth in the U.S.

Telstra isn’t the only international operator aiming for gains in the U.S. Vodafone recently told Fierce it’s pursuing double-digit revenue growth in the country through a focus on multi-national enterprise customers.


This story has been updated with an additional comment from Nicholas Collins about Telstra's growth targets.