Local Jobs Fund to Build Terabit Territory

The Territory Labor Government will partner with the private sector to upgrade the Northern Territory’s existing fibre-optic cable network from 400 gigabits to 20 terabits – a once-in-a-generation infrastructure upgrade that will bring new investment, new industries and new jobs to the Territory.

At his annual Year Ahead address today, the Chief Minister announced the Territory Government’s Local Jobs Fund will invest $7.9 million in a joint project with leading Australian telecommunications company Vocus, who will invest $10 million to upgrade fibre-optic cables across the Territory.

Building the ‘Terabit Territory’ will bring the NT in line with telecommunications infrastructure Australia-wide, meaning the Territory will no longer be a laggard when it comes to digital technology.

This massive increase in the volume and speed of digital services will mean:

  • Faster internet speeds within the Territory;
  • Attracting new businesses to the Territory;
  • Attracting private investment in data centres – a new industry for the Territory; and
  • A direct fibre-optic link to the huge technology hubs in Singapore and South-East Asia.

The Territory Government’s contribution is tied to Vocus connecting Darwin to Singapore with fibre-optic cable – providing the Territory with its first direct international data and telecommunications connection.

This will be a game-changer for the Territory, positioning us as Asia’s tech-gateway to Australia, attracting new industries like data centres, and encouraging global tech giants to set up shop in the NT.

A recent submarine cable connection from Queensland to Asia is expected to generate more than 800 jobs and nearly $1 billion in economic value for that state. Now it’s the Territory’s turn to take advantage of this once-in-a-generation infrastructure upgrade.

The Territory Government’s investment will upgrade the network throughout the NT – from Darwin to Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs – while Vocus will upgrade the Territory’s connection to Adelaide and Queensland.

Vocus has already undertaken works in the Territory with the 46-kilomtre undersea fibre optic cable to the Tiwi Islands.

Vocus is a Territory employer with an excellent track record of using local contractors. They will look to Territory businesses for civil, electrical, welding, haulage and machining work throughout the NT.

At the moment, Sydney is Australia’s capital for telecommunications services, and they are winning the new jobs being created in the fast-growing digital economy.

But the Territory is situated much closer to the investment and job opportunities coming from South-East Asia, and with an upgraded fibre-optic network, we can win the jobs of the future.

It’s time for the Territory to join the tech jobs boom.

Quotes attributed to Chief Minister Michael Gunner:

“Everybody knows my number one priority is jobs – jobs for today, jobs for tomorrow, jobs for Territorians.

“We are building job-creating infrastructure, we are putting local businesses and local workers first, and we are investing in the permanent jobs of the future, so our towns are full and work is flowing.

“This is a game-changer for us, opening up the NT as an investment destination for new industries, and a telecommunications gateway between Australia and Asia.

“We’re going to turn the Stuart Highway into an information super-highway, and turn the NT into a tech services hub for the whole region.

“Sydney is currently the telecommunications capital of Australia, but Sydney’s about to get a new challenger – the Territory.

“America has the silicon valley, why can’t we be the silicon Territory?

“We’ve got a prime location on South-East Asia’s doorstep, we’ve got the land for data centres, the energy to power them, and smart people to work in the industry.

“Now we will have the fibre-optic network to make it all happen.”

Quotes attributed to Vocus Group MD and CEO Kevin Russell:

“The Terabit Territory is a game-changer for Vocus and the Territory, establishing Darwin as a major new gateway for capacity from Asia to other mainland capital cities.

“This major upgrade to Vocus’s fibre infrastructure will deliver a new level of competition in the Territory and substantially increase capacity from Australia’s north-west to other capital cities.

“This infrastructure will open up the market by providing more competitive pricing to major metropolitan areas – and position Darwin as a market for new technologies such as edge data centres and hyperscale cloud facilities.

“In addition, the connection to the Vocus-owned ASC will establish the only direct fibre route from Darwin to Asia and provide added redundancy for our network via a major new fibre loop in Australia’s west.”

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