Australian Subsea Cable Project Updates

Australian Subsea Cable Project Updates

An initiative to establish an international undersea cable from Queensland is moving ahead, meanwhile the Australia Singapore Cable (ASC) project has hit the halfway mark.

Submarine broadband cable
Image: Vocus

Subsea cables are crucial in keeping the world interconnected, carrying nearly all intercontinental electronic communications traffic. Currently, five submarine cables provide internet connectivity from Australia to the rest of the world. Four of these cables land in Sydney and the fifth in Perth.

With the volume of international communications through these conduits rapidly increasing and demand for faster broadband speeds growing, establishing bigger and better cables – and more of them – is becoming a pressing issue.

Sunshine Coast Cable Project

Back in August we mentioned Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Council was pushing to elevate a project for a proposed submarine broadband cable to be established in the region as a national priority.

That project is gaining steam, with expressions of interest for construction opening today. The goal is to have the cable, which would link to Asia and/or the United States, up and running by 2020.

“A new international broadband network will create up to 864 jobs per annum on the coast and provide a potential economic boost of $927 million to Queensland,” said Mayor Mark Jamieson. “This is not only a game-changer for us, but the entire State.”

Mayor Jamieson says with the majority of landing points currently concentrated in the Sydney region, this poses a significant risk for Australian internet connectivity. Establishing a cable landing point on the Sunshine Coast will help mitigate some of this risk, not just for Queensland, but much of Australia.

The deadline for expressions of interest is midday, Wednesday, January 10, 2018. Submissions will be assessed in January, with a preferred partners announcement expected in early 2018.

Australia Singapore Cable Update

On Monday, Vocus announced work on the USD $170m Australia Singapore Cable (“ASC”) project had passed the halfway mark, with manufacturing work nearly complete.

The main cable laying will commence in February, with the final splice occurring in April. It’s expected the ASC, which will provide a minimum 40 Tbps (terabits per second) of capacity, will be ready for service in July 2018.

While the cable section between Christmas Island and Perth will be laid on the sea bed, the run from Singapore to Christmas Island will be buried up to 4 metres deep due to the shallow nature of the water and the amount of sea traffic in the area. A previously laid cable has been frequently broken, requiring costly and time-consuming repair work.

“Once complete, the ASC will provide greater connectivity, bandwidth and reliability for business and consumers, building on Vocus’ 21,000km fibre network,” said Vocus Group CEO Geoff Horth. ” We’re very pleased with the rate of progress being made on the project.”

Vocus is among Lightning Broadband’s backhaul providers.

In other recent related news, last week we mentioned the Australian Government will be funding the laying of a new undersea high-speed telecommunications cable from Australia to Port Moresby that will improve internet services in Papua New Guinea.

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