A contract has been signed for a submarine cable connecting Australia’s Sunshine Coast to Asia and the United States.
The project consists of a 550km undersea fiber optic cable that will connect the Sunshine Coast to the 9,600km Japan-Guam-Australia South submarine cable that is currently being delivered by a consortium involving Google RTI-C, and AARnet.
At Guam, the JGA-S cable will connect to the SEA-US Cable System, a TransPacific cable that will forge connections between South-East Asia and the United States for more than 1.5 billion people.
The Sunshine Coast Council and the Queensland Government are covering the funding for the approximately $35 million project, with the venture forecast to deliver up to 860 new jobs and drive $927 million in new investment in Queensland.
The submarine cable, to be supplied and installed by Alcatel Submarine Network (ASN), is expected to be completed by the first half of 2020.
Sunshine Coast Council mayor Mark Jamieson says this infrastructure investment will result in a significant point of difference for the Sunshine Coast.
“The Sunshine Coast will provide the fastest, most affordable international connection point for Queensland and Australia to Asia, providing a significant step-change in Queensland’s attractiveness as an investment location,” says Jamieson.
“This project will stimulate investment and jobs growth on the Sunshine Coast thanks to the superior telecommunications connectivity and data infrastructure and could serve to attract some of the world’s biggest data users to our region. This game-changer will transform the Sunshine Coast and open up enormous opportunities for Queensland.
Queensland Government Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick says 95-99 percent of Australia’s internet needs are serviced by a limited number of overseas cables coming into Sydney and Perth.
“The landing of a submarine cable on the Sunshine Coast will not only diversify the landing locations for telecommunications traffic, but will also provide speed, reliability and capacity improvements for the whole of the state,” says Dick.
“A modern and growing knowledge-based economy relies on access to high-speed communications networks to ensure fast and reliable delivery of services across our state, from key social services to telehealth in our hospitals. This initiative will bolster connectivity and reliability of these networks, and the services that rely on them, benefiting all Queenslanders.”
Jamieson says the international submarine cable – which will connect to a new cable landing station near the Maroochydore City Centre – will increase data transmission speed, provide greater redundancy and should, over time, lead to a reduction in international communications costs for business and consumers.
“New cables and new technology have tended to drive down prices and create a more efficient environment,” says Jamieson.
“Our ratepayers will also benefit from the agreements we have reached with RTI-C because council will receive a revenue stream from customers accessing the JGA-S cable network through the Sunshine Coast cable connection.”