Vocus to build fibre-optic cable link between Darwin and Tiwi Islands


Monday, 03 September, 2018


Vocus to build fibre-optic cable link between Darwin and Tiwi Islands

Vocus Group will collaborate with the Northern Territory Government to construct a new fibre-optic cable link between Darwin and the Tiwi Islands.

“Construction of the Tiwi Islands cable builds on our substantial network infrastructure investment activities in the Northern Territory,” said Vocus Group CEO Kevin Russell.

Under a Capital Grant arrangement with the Northern Territory Government, Vocus will build, own and operate the subsea system, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019. The connection will be established through a Branching Unit already provisioned in the Vocus subsea North West Cable System (NWCS) asset and will use the pre-existing Vocus Cable Landing Station Facility located at Mindil Beach in Darwin; construct a new 60 km subsea spur cable between the NWCS Branching Unit and the Tiwi Islands; and use a pre-existing facility located at Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island as the Cable Landing Station.

“The new fibre-optic link provides a historic opportunity to replace the existing suboptimal microwave link to the mainland, removing capacity constraints and improving telecommunication services to the Tiwi Islands. Poor weather causes significant interruptions to microwave telecommunication links and the tropical conditions in the Tiwi Islands frequently mean that essential services that rely on connectivity cannot be delivered,” said Russell.

“Affordable and reliable fibre-optic connectivity is a fundamental prerequisite for the participation in the global digital economy. Vocus is pleased to play its role in delivering this capability to the communities of the Tiwi Islands,” he said.

In conjunction with its partners, Vocus brings the Northern Territory Government substantial expertise in building this critical component of their digital future. Vocus has extensive recent experience in developing world-class telecommunications infrastructure, particularly in the design and deployment of submarine cables, including the 2100 km NWCS and the 4600 km Australia Singapore Cable (ASC) connecting Perth, Jakarta and Singapore.

Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) and Fugro have been selected as the specialist vendors to undertake the marine campaign. A comprehensive program of survey, manufacture and deployment activities is estimated to take nine months to complete after the finalisation of technical specifications.

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