Sunshine Coast prepares to connect international submarine cable

Friday, 27 September, 2019

Sunshine Coast prepares to connect international submarine cable

The completion of the submarine cable landing station at Maroochydore on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast takes the region one step closer to becoming an international digital trade hub.

Sunshine Coast Council is facilitating the landing of a new international submarine cable to Maroochydore, recently completing works on the cable landing station. The project — set for completion in mid-2020 — includes the installation of a 550 km undersea fibre-optic cable that will connect the Sunshine Coast to the 9700 km Japan–Guam–Australia (JGA) submarine cable. The cable, which is laid on or buried under the sea floor, will connect to the cable landing station adjacent to the new Maroochydore City Centre. The vital piece of infrastructure will deliver diversity to Australia’s international communication needs and significant economic benefits for the Sunshine Coast and Queensland.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson joined Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick to mark the completion of the $7.2 million facility.

Palaszczuk said the project is facilitating the direct landing of a new undersea internet data cable at Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast and will generate almost $1 billion for the state economy.

“This $7.2 million cable landing station is the gateway to better internet connectivity for Queensland businesses,” the Premier said.

“Better connectivity means faster processing times for bigger data and more jobs. The cable will be able to provide Australia’s fastest data and telecommunications transmission speeds to Asia and the second fastest to the USA,” Palaszczuk explained.

Jamieson said the completion of the cable landing station marked another milestone in the delivery of the Sunshine Coast International Broadband Network.

“Unlike traditional cable landing stations that are normally non-descript buildings out of view from the general public, our landing station is designed to reflect Council’s design vision for the Maroochydore city centre,” the Mayor said.

“Our Sunshine Coast will offer the fastest data and telecommunications transmission from the eastern seaboard of Australia to Asia once the submarine cable comes ashore and is in service next year.

“It will help to position our region to become Australia’s first digital trade hub — taking a region-wide approach to data and digital connectivity, which will benefit a wide cross-section of businesses and industries.

“Projects such as the Sunshine Coast International Broadband Network enable our region, its economy and our community to be well positioned to respond to the rapidly evolving demands of the 21st century. When completed, this network will provide direct international data and telecommunications from the Sunshine Coast — the only location in Australia outside of Sydney and Perth to provide this direct international connectivity,” he said.

The landing station, estimated to create 864 jobs, is part of the Sunshine Coast International Broadband Cable Network being delivered thanks to $15 million in funding from the Queensland Government’s $175 million Jobs and Regional Growth Fund and $20 million from the Sunshine Coast Council.

Dick said the Palaszczuk government was pleased to partner with the Sunshine Coast Council to deliver this transformative project for the region and the state.

“Our data needs will only increase as we continue to attract new investment to Queensland and further diversify our economy,” Dick said.

“Landing this international broadband cable directly on the shores of the Sunshine Coast will ensure we’re able to maximise every opportunity the digital era presents for our state.”

Robert Linsdell, Managing Director of Vertiv (Australia and New Zealand), said through the development of the cable landing station, Sunshine Coast Council is taking a huge step towards futureproofing the region’s digital future.

“The importance of investing in the right internet infrastructure cannot be overstated, particularly as we enter a new era of IoT and smart cities, where reliable connectivity will be paramount to all aspects of our daily lives,” Linsdell said.

The Sunshine Coast has a track record for innovative projects, including:

  • The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm, which has reportedly enabled the Sunshine Coast Council to become the first government in mainland Australia to offset 100% of its electricity usage through renewable energy.
  • The Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project includes delivery of a new longer, wider runway which will enable direct access to new markets in Asia, the Pacific and other locations in Australia when the runway is completed in 2020.
  • Maroochydore City Centre is claimed to be Australia’s only greenfield CBD and truly smart city, with technology and digital infrastructure solutions built in from the ground up.
  • The Automated Waste Collection System at the Maroochydore City Centre is reported to be Australia’s first CBD-wide underground automated waste collection system.
  • The establishment of the tripartite blue carbon initiative, which is set to provide new opportunities and a sustainable future to the area’s Blue Heart — over 5000 ha of largely agricultural land in the Maroochy River Catchment.

Submarine cable project facts

  • The cable landing station has capacity for four submarine cables and houses 24 data cabinets.
  • Security is a key consideration. The building has 20 cameras.
  • The cable landing station has electricity supplied from two different sources to reduce the risk of power outages and two 500 kVA generators as a backup power supply.
  • The Sunshine Coast International Broadband Network project will help stimulate local business, generate new investment and improve telecommunications diversity to Australia’s east coast.
  • The cable will help to futureproof the Sunshine Coast’s telecommunications capacity and increase the region’s smart city capability by ensuring access to important data networks.
  • The Sunshine Coast International Broadband Submarine Cable Project is forecast to stimulate $927 million in new investment in Queensland.

Image credit: © Burgstedt

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