Nextgen looks to NBN, cloud to boost business

NBN to extend geographic reach, create demand for backhaul, says CEO Peter McGrath

Nextgen Group hopes to double revenue to $600 million in five years by taking advantage of the NBN rollout and accelerating movement among businesses and government to the cloud and infrastructure-as-a-service, said Nextgen CEO Peter McGrath.

Nextgen Group was recently formed after the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan bought 70 per cent of Leighton Telecommunications from Leighton Holdings. The new group merges the Nextgen Networks, Metronode and Infoplex brands under a single name.

McGrath said the rollout of the NBN will increase the geographic reach of the Nextgen network and create backhaul opportunities. The company wants to connect to all of the NBN points of interconnection (POIs), he said.

Today, customers in regional areas do not have a great amount of choice, McGrath said.

“They have to use Telstra,” or a Telstra reseller, he told Computerworld Australia. “The beauty of the NBN for us is that it’s going to extend our reach, and it’s going to extend it on a level playing field.”

The NBN will also create greater demand for backhaul services, the Nextgen CEO said.

“Once the NBN starts to reach more critical mass, end users at home are going to have greater and greater requirements, and that just gets multiplied through the network,” he said. Corporates and government then need to be able to pull in additional infrastructure to be able to service their customers.”

“If you’re a bank of the future, you’re going to have to have significant infrastructure to be able to provide ... things like video services.”

Nextgen isn’t taking sides on the politics surrounding the right technical approach to building the NBN, McGrath said. “Under either of those scenarios, there are good outcomes for the industry.”

Another opportunity for Nextgen is the movement of governments and businesses to storing more data in the cloud. “Data’s no longer local.”

Lingering concerns like data sovereignty mean cloud adoption is still in its “infancy” in Australia, he said. However, the movement is accelerating and in a decade most companies will buy IT services on demand, he said.

“In ten years, it won’t be something we talk about. It will just be something that’s done.”

The fact that a Canadian company has taken a 70 per cent stake does not mean data at Nextgen will leave Australia, McGrath said.

“I don’t think there’s any issues there at all with data sovereignty,” he said. “We see data sovereignty particularly for governments and large corporates all about them feeling comfortable that the data is in reach.”

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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Tags broadbandNBNbackhaulInfrastructure-as-a-Service (IAAS)Ontario Teachers’ Pension PlanNextgen Group

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