Tiwi Islands Fibre Project Moving Along

Tiwi Islands Fibre Project Moving Along

The Northern Territory Government reports a major project milestone for the Tiwi Islands fibre optic connection to Darwin is complete.

Home to approximately, 3,000, the Tiwi Islands are 80 km north of Darwin. While the residents of Melville and Bathurst Islands have access to satellite broadband, plus mobile phone services via high speed digital radio link, these services are at capacity and unable to meet any additional demand. Severe weather events and general equipment malfunction also interrupt communications quite regularly. This has a significant impact on the local economy and well-being of residents.

Back in September we reported The NT’s government was investing $8.5 million to establish a 60km undersea optic fibre cable to the Islands in partnership with Vocus Communications*, to provide the communities with more reliable communications and enable growth.

Tiwi Islands fibre project Image: Vocus Communications

The cable will branch off from Vocus’s existing 2,100km North West Cable System, which runs from Darwin to Port Hedland. It will emerge at a landing point on Warramiyanga on Bathurst Island, utilising a pre-existing facility as the Cable Landing Station.

The first major and most critical step of sub-sea network construction for the project was a marine survey, which has now been completed. A total of 500 linear kilometres has been surveyed by a crew of 9 personnel over ten days. The results of the survey will inform how the cable will be manufactured and its precise placement on the sea floor.

The government appears happy with progress to date and says the project is running on time (to be completed by the end of 2019) and to budget.

“Territorians, no matter where they live, deserve to have the same access to reliable and effective telecommunications services as other Australians,” said NT Minister for Corporate and Information Services, Lauren Moss. “Access to high quality telecommunications is critical in our remote areas for health and education, for economic development and creating local jobs, for community wellbeing, and for staying connected with family and friends.”

Mark Wratten, Vocus Chief Financial Officer, has previously stated the Tiwi fibre project will effectively be a “world-class” connection, offering the same types of broadband speeds and capacity as in major population centers such as Sydney and Melbourne.

*Vocus Communications is among Lightning Broadband’s technology partners and is one of the  leading tier-1 providers we acquire backhaul from.

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