Northern Territory News

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Subsea Cable to Drive Industry and Investment in the Territory

  • Written by Michael Gunner

Darwin’s push to become a hub for data centres and high tech digital jobs has gained further momentum with telecommunications company Vocus and the Territory Labor Government today announcing the construction of a $100 million, lightning-fast subsea fibre cable into Asia.

The Darwin-Jakarta-Singapore Cable (DJSC) will deliver 40 terabits per second of internet capacity between Australia and Asia when it is completed in 2023.

Survey work will commence in September, with cable manufacture due to start in November 2021, and installation in 2022.

Vocus’ $100 million investment will further increase Darwin’s fibre backbone and capacity. It follows recent announcements of HyperOne and Project Horizon, which are complimentary super-fast fibre highways linking Darwin to Asia and other parts of Australia.

Darwin’s fibre capacity and strategic location as a point of digital interconnect between Australia and Asia make it the logical place for data centres and further private investment.

The DJSC will be established via a new 1,000km submarine connection between Vocus’ North-West Cable System which stretches from Darwin to Port Hedland, to the Australia Singapore Cables in the Indian Ocean. This creates a link from Darwin to Singapore, with branches to Christmas Island and Jakarta, Indonesia.

Today’s announcement follows the completion of the first stage of Terabit Territory.

The Territory Labor Government invested $7.9 million in the project as part of the Local Jobs Fund, with Vocus contributing an additional $10 million.

Vocus says the first stage of Terabit Territory created over 130 jobs for Territorians.

“All digital highways lead into or through Darwin and that will equal jobs of the future and burgeoning digital industry in the Top End.

“The Darwin-Jakarta-Singapore cable is a massive sign of confidence in the Top End and again shows why we are Australia’s comeback capital.

“The exciting part of this is that it will diversify our economy and create long term skilled jobs.

“It further cements Darwin as Northern Australia’s most advanced digital economy, and this will open the door to new opportunities for advanced manufacturing, data-centres and cloud-based computing services for Territorians and investors.

“We are proud to keep working with Vocus to boost our digital capabilities and deliver more opportunities for the Territory.”

Minister for Corporate and Digital Development, Paul Kirby: said

“It’s incredibly exciting to be announcing Darwin’s connection into the fastest growing data market in the world.

"This will provide a 1000km link between the existing Darwin - Port Headland cable and the Australia - Singapore Cable. Directly linking Darwin into one of the most reliable, fastest connections into Asia.

“Driving digital investment in Darwin will future proof our job market.  It means jobs today, but also exciting digital opportunities into the future for our Territory kids.”

Vocus CEO, Kevin Russell: said

“Vocus is delivering the four largest telecommunications network projects in Northern Australia, cementing our position as the leading fibre infrastructure investor in Australia today.

“We’ve delivered Terabit Territory – a 25-times increase in capacity into Darwin. We’ve delivered a submarine cable from Darwin to the Tiwi Islands. We’re delivering Project Horizon – a new 2,000km fibre connection from Perth to Port Hedland and onto Darwin. And today we’re announcing the Darwin-Jakarta-Singapore Cable.

“No other telecoms operator comes close to this level of investment in high-captivity fibre.”

Investment Commissioner, Andy Cowan: said,

“The Territory’s first international subsea cable connection from Darwin through to Singapore is an exciting step that opens up access to new markets via a high speed and secure network.

“During COVID-19 a spotlight has been shone on the importance of digital connectivity, this new strategic infrastructure will accelerate investment into the Territory and open up new opportunities across a number of sectors for growth and jobs.”

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