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The real estate holdings of Queensland electricity utilities and local councils could be used to house edge datacentres in regional parts of the state under an idea being explored by QCN Fibre.

The chief executive of QCN, Derek Merdith, said he believes the state government owned backhaul provider could play the role of facilitator for datacentre operators that want to deploy edge DCs in Queensland.

QCN is jointly owned by Powerlink and Energy Queensland and uses fibre originally rolled out by the two utilities.

“Not only do we have 10,000kms of fibre throughout Queensland, but we’ve got a lot of depots, substations and other real estate that we have effectively access to,” Merdith said. “What we’re looking at is, if there’s a substation near town, do we look at carving off a piece and then quarantining that area to put a mini edge DC there?

“There that does two things: One it is connected onto the network right there. And two, you’ve got a mini DC in the local town, as opposed to long-lining it all back to Brisbane or to the nearest big town.”

“We’re about coverage and connectivity,” Merdith said. “By default, our parent companies have got a lot of real estate. So do we investigate the option to utilise some of that real estate for our purposes, which is improving connectivity in the regions?”

QCN is also looking at helping local councils leverage their properties for potential edge DC sites.

It’s early days for the idea, the CEO added, but QCN last week signed a memorandum of understanding with a regional council that includes facility sharing: “So it doesn’t necessarily have to be our infrastructure, but what we’ve done is gone to local councils to say, ‘Look, if we can help you, have you got some facilities we can share to serve the same purpose’.”


Article in Comms Day – 9 June 2020 – Reporter: Rohan Pearce