Investing in the Bush – Connecting the Tiwi Islands – 1st Milestone Complete

The first major project milestone for the Tiwi Islands fibre optic connection to Darwin is complete, paving the way for more reliable communications for Tiwi people.

The Territory Labor Government is investing $8.5 million to establish the 46km undersea fibre optic cable to the Islands, in partnership with Vocus Communications.

It is the first major step in giving Tiwi Islanders access to reliable, future-proofed and weather-resistant telecommunications infrastructure for the first time meaning more economic opportunity and better health and education services on the islands.

A marine survey has now been undertaken, and is the first and most critical – stage of subsea network construction. Technical data from the survey will inform the manufacture and precise placement of the cable on the sea floor and identify and minimise any environmental impacts of the installation.

The survey was conducted from a branch on Vocus North West Cable System, which runs between Darwin and Port Hedland, to a landing point at Warramiyanga on Bathurst Island and was undertaken by local Northern Territory subcontractor Bhagwan Marine on behalf of Fugro.

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Interesting statistics include:

  • Total linear kilometres of seabed surveyed – 500km
  • Average width of Seabed surveyed – 250m
  • Peak Average survey per day – 50km
  • Deepest water depth surveyed – 40m
  • Total crew on Survey vessel – 9 personnel
  • Total days of infield operations 10 days.

The project is due to be completed by the end of 2019 and is running on time and to budget.

As noted by Minister for Corporate and Information Services, Lauren Moss

Territorians, no matter where they live, deserve to have the same access to reliable and effective telecommunications services as other Australians.

Access to high quality telecommunications is critical in our remote areas for health and education, for economic development and creating local jobs, for community wellbeing, and for staying connected with family and friends.

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As noted by the Member for Arafura, Lawrence Costa

This is great news for the Tiwi Islands.

Reliable telecommunications services will provide opportunities for local businesses, create local jobs and the tele and digital health services will have positive outcomes for the whole community.

As noted by Chief Executive for Vocus Enterprise Government and Wholesale, Mark Callander

Vocus has developed significant capability in the design, deployment and operation of submarine networks. It is pleased to have the opportunity to utilise this expertise to deliver an infrastructure project that will provide such as lasting contribution to the Tiwi Islands.

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