Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson says he is seeking to elevate a project for a proposed submarine broadband cable landing point in his region as a national priority.
The Mayor made the comment after a trip to Canberra this week, where he met with Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield and Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) representatives to discuss the proposed project.
Cr Jamieson said the parties would meet again in October, once a feasibility study being undertaken on Council’s behalf was completed.
Australia is currently connected to the rest of the world via five major cable connections that carry the vast majority of all international internet traffic. Four of those cables come ashore on a relatively short stretch of coastline around Sydney. The fifth is in Perth.
The focus on Sydney as a landing point is cause for concern as its believed there is potential for multiple cables to be damaged in a single incident, causing havoc to internet communications on the east coast of the country. Submarine cable sections in deep water are only around 25mm in diameter and approximately 6-7 cm thick in shallower waters.
Sunshine Coast Council believes a cable landing point in its region won’t just provide better broadband speeds for Queensland, but also offer a backup for Australia’s entire east coast.
Broadband Cable A Cash Machine
This project would translate into big bucks for the region, with it pumping an estimated additional $700 million into the Sunshine Coast economy each year. Council believes it would change the Sunshine Coast “profoundly and forever”; making it one of the most attractive places in Australia for businesses and other organisations with superfast broadband speed requirements.
State-wide, implementation of the cable could generate $1.1 billion annually for Queensland’s economy.
Council says the Sunshine Coast is an ideal location for a new landing point due to its land and marine topography, and it being a significant population center. The region is also clear of the Great Barrier Reef and regulated port areas.
Council has applied to have an offshore cable protection zone declared in its region. This zoning minimises the risk of accidental damage to submarine cables by banning or restricting certain activities.
You can read more about Sunshine Coast’s submarine broadband cable aspirations here.