Link for Tassie boosts capacity

Tasmania has a “once in a generation opportunity” to connect to an international fibre cable and grow technology exports, the state’s peak information and technology body has declared.

 Earlier this month six companies including Google and Telstra entered into an agreement with Alcatel Submarine Networks to build a new international cable system that will connect Singapore, Indonesia and Australia.  

The cable, almost 10,000 kilometres long, will start in Singapore before heading south to Jakarta, Perth and through the Bass Strait to Sydney.

Using today’s optical technology, each of the two-fibre pairs will have a minimum capacity of 18 terabits per second, with the option to increase capacity in the future.

TasICT, the state’s leading information and technology body, is lobbying the state and federal government to have Tasmania connected to the subsea cable.

The organisation’s chief executive Will Kestin said it was a “once in a generation opportunity” for Tasmania to boost its technology capacity with the cable.

“It comes so close,” he said. 

“We would love to see the federal government working with state government to build the spur and make sure Tasmania is not bypassed.

“What that would do is allow Tasmanian businesses to export and allow large call centres to use Tasmania as a base.”

Mr Kestin said the benefits of linking the state to the cable would be a “pretty minimal investment”. 

“This could be an incredible opportunity where Tasmania could accept the infrastructure for the state to really grow its businesses opportunities,” he said. 

[It would] allow Tasmanian businesses to export and allow large call centres to use Tasmania as a base

Will Kestin

Alcatel Submarine Networks will construct the cable, which is expected to be completed by mid-2019.

A spokeswoman for the state government said it had not been formally approached with any proposal, but would remain open "as the opportunity develops".

"Tasmania currently has excellent carrier capacity in data and communications infrastructure, however, this government also understands the strategic future importance of data and communication and how rapidly data and communications needs change and their relevance to future economic growth," she said.

"Therefore any option or proposal would be considered most carefully and approaches would be made to the Australian Government in line with the nature of any proposal."