Meet the new ultra-high speed national broadband network that's snaking its way around the country delivering super-fast internet connectivity to institutions who need it more than you and me.
Optic fibre cables from the AARNet have been laid from the Holsworth army base and Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, through the bush behind Thirroul and are now on the way to hook up the University of Wollongong.
AARNet, a non-profit company which says it is owned by universities and the CSIRO "for the greater good", brings its broadband to large research and education organisations, and some government departments - with speeds of up to 400 gigabytes per second on its Sydney-Canberra network.
AARNet said the network will soon run from UOW through Garrawarra and Holsworthy, connecting the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology organisation, schools and health facilities on the way to the new UOW campus in Liverpool.
"The AARNet fibre build in the Illawarra region is connecting the various campuses of University of Wollongong (UOW) to the AARNet backbone running between Sydney and Melbourne," the company said.
AARNet CEO Christ Hancock said research institutions need a dedicated network to handle the unique ultra-high-speed and large data transfer needs of the research and education sector.
"The NBN and commercial telcos are doing an amazing job during the current COVID-19 crisis to support the mass move to working and learning from home, but the University of Wollongong and its researchers and collaborators still need the ultra-high bandwidth headroom that only a dedicated research and education network like AARNet provides."
UOW chief information officer Fiona Rankin said connectivity to the AARNet backbone was vital for the work of UOW researchers.
"The AARNet backbone is critical infrastructure for the University of Wollongong's Molecular Horizons facility: for the transfer of huge data sets generated by the Cryo-Em microscope, and for enabling our researchers to collaborate with other researchers nationally and globally. AARNet connectivity is also fundamental for the development of the regional Health and Wellbeing Precinct project the University is leading," she said.
To install the high-speed cable, first a trench is dug and piping buried. Compressed air is then used to push a rope through a 500m section of pipe, and this is then used to winch the cable through.
AARNet's infrastructure offers speeds of 100Gbps for most of its network, with the 400Gbps only from Sydney to Canberra.