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Sep 03, 2018

Vocus to construct first fibre optic cable to the Tiwi Islands

 

Vocus Group Ltd (ASX: VOC) welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the Northern Territory Government to construct a new fibre optic cable link between Darwin and the Tiwi Islands. For the first time, communities located on Melville and Bathurst Islands will have access to a reliable, high capacity and trusted fibre optic link to the mainland.

This project represents a significant step forward in improving telecommunications services on the Tiwi Islands. Vocus Group CEO Kevin Russell welcomes the opportunity to further extend the company’s relationship with, and commitment to, Australia’s North. “Construction of the Tiwi Islands cable builds on our substantial network infrastructure investment activities in the Northern Territory.”

Mr Russell says, “The new fibre optic link provides an historic opportunity to replace the existing sub-optimal 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.

“Affordable and reliable fibre optic connectivity is a fundamental pre-requisite 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” Mr Russell concluded.

In conjunction with its partners, Vocus brings the Northern Territory Government substantial expertise in building this critical component of the 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 2,100km NWCS and the 4,600km Australia Singapore Cable (ASC) connecting Perth, Jakarta and Singapore.

“Vocus has long established and significant credentials in the delivery of affordable telecommunications services in the Northern Territory. Vocus understands this market and has a proven ability to operate and compete within it,” says Mr Russell.

Under a Capital Grant arrangement with the Northern Territory Government, Vocus will build, own and operate the sub-sea system, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019. The connection will be established though a Branching Unit already provisioned in the Vocus sub-sea North West Cable System (NWCS) asset and will:

  • - Utilise the pre-existing Vocus Cable Landing Station Facility located at Mindil Beach in Darwin;
  • - Construct a new 60km sub-sea spur cable between the NWCS Branching Unit and the Tiwi Islands; and
  • - Utilise a pre-existing facility located at Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island as the Cable Landing Station.

 

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 (9) months to complete after the finalisation of technical specifications.