Australia's Northern Territory Government is to partner with Vocus to boost the NT's current fibre-optic cable network capacity from 400 gigabits per second to 20 terabits, improving internet speeds for Territorians and providing other important opportunities.
So how fast it 20Tbps (terabits per second)? Fast enough to stream more than 4 million HD movies simultaneously, while still leaving some bandwidth to spare.
Calling it a "once-in-a-generation infrastructure upgrade", the Gunner Government says it will bring new investment, industries and jobs.
“This is a game-changer for us, opening up the NT as an investment destination for new industries, and a telecommunications gateway between Australia and Asia," said Chief Minister Michael Gunner. “We’re going to turn the Stuart Highway into an information super-highway, and turn the NT into a tech services hub for the whole region."
The Territory Government says it will invest $7.9 million in upgrading the network from Darwin to Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs, while Vocus will upgrade the NT's connection to Adelaide and Queensland. Vocus will be kicking in $10 million for its part of the project.
Beyond faster internet for those in the NT and opportunities within Australia, Minister Gunner says the Northern Territory is South-East Asia’s doorstep, has land for data centres, the energy to power them (air-conditioning those data centres will be energy-intensive), and the people to work in them.
Vocus Group MD and CEO Kevin Russell say the connection to the Vocus-owned Australia Singapore Cable (ASC) will establish the only direct fibre route from Darwin to Asia, while substantially boosting capacity from the north-west to other Australian capital cities.
This won't be Vocus's first NT project - it was responsible for a 46-kilometre undersea fibre optic cable project to the Tiwi Islands. It also owns the North West Cable System (NWCS), which includes 2,000 kilometres of fibre between landing stations at Port Hedland and Darwin. The company's Australian fibre network is now over 21,000 kilometres.
In recent years, the NT Government has made significant headway in connectivity related projects through its 2018-19 Digital Territory Action Plan.
Just as a side-note, Lightning Broadband acquires bandwidth from Australia’s leading tier-1 providers, including Vocus.