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It took over six years for Oscar-winning film director and explorer James Cameron to build a sub capable of taking him on a solo voyage to the deepest part of the world’s ocean – the Mariana Trench. When he needed a communications solution to connect him to the rest of the world, however, Telstra had only one week to come up with a solution. Installing satellite dish technology on the expedition ship, the Mermaid Sapphire, Telstra was not only able to facilitate internet and phone contact between Jim’s team and their loved ones at home, it also transmitted HD footage of this history-making dive in hours as opposed to days so his achievement could be broadcast to the world. A high definition data signal uplinked footage from the ship, via satellite, to Telstra International’s teleport at Oxford Falls. From here, the footage was sent via the Telstra Digital Video Network to key media organisations internationally.
In my world exploration is much more exciting than making movies. I only make the movies to pay for the exploration. You know, since I was a kid I was fascinated by science. I was an avid reader of science fiction, so the idea of other worlds, other planets, that sort of thing was amazing to me. And what I found out was, there is an alien world right here on our own planet and we can visit it.
This is the end of a six year project. It’s coming to its culmination. We’ve completed our deep diving submersible, the Deep Challenger ... and we’re gonna take it to the deepest place on this planet - the Mariana Trench down to 36,000 feet, 11,000 metres.
We’re gonna be out in a very remote area of the Western Pacific, discovering new things that are gonna be of interest to the science community, it’s going to be very interesting to the lay public, to education and we want to be able to broadcast right to kids in schools.
Telstra is such an obvious choice. I mean they’re the biggest ah telco in Australia, with the bandwidth capability. We went to Telstra for a solution to a problem.
Steven Dargham - Manager Solution Architect, Telstra International
Two days before Christmas I received a phone call followed by a bunch of emails briefly describing the deep sea exploration project. One day before Christmas we put a final solution of what we need from the equipment perspective. Two days before the New Year and ah we were able to ah make it happen.
Brett Popplewell - Documentary Producer
Well I think the most important thing for us that Telstra has provided is just the communication from us to land or to the rest of the world from where we are on the ship. We shoot a lot of different footage. We’re shooting web footage, we’re shooting footage for promotion purposes and eventually we’ll be doing live streams to around the world when Jim comes up from the dive.
The footage will be streamed on HD format, the highest HD format that we can provide. The world demands that quality now and if we can’t show them this project in the highest quality HD, then we shouldn’t be doing it. And we can do that because of Telstra. I think having Telstra have that ability is important at this early stage for the Australian television industry because you can upload that and download that extremely quickly. Having Telstra as our coordinator as such for different companies coming into it is incredibly important. We can’t do that from the boat, we just don’t have physically the ability to do that.
We can basically distribute the feed from the ship to any media interested in taking the feed, whether it’s live or playback, we have the capability to deliver it to anywhere within Australia and indeed internationally.
We can feed out video immediately after the dive of what we’ve seen down at the bottom of the ocean, you know, seven miles under the ship. And it’ll, I think it’ll give people a real feeling of immediacy, like they’re participating. At the same time knowing that what we’re doing is you know kind of riskier than sitting in a movie theatre munching popcorn. You know, we’re going to the deepest place on the planet.