Vocus announces Darwin-Jakarta-Singapore Cable, Northern Australia’s first international submarine cable

Vocus, an Australian specialist fibre and network solutions provider has signed construction contracts for a new $100 million, 1,000 km cable linking the Australia Singapore Cable (ASC) to the North West Cable System (NWCS) in Port Hedland.

This will provide the final piece of the Darwin-Jakarta-Singapore Cable (DJSC), a $500 million system of high-capacity cables connecting Perth, Darwin, Port Hedland, Christmas Island, Indonesia, and Singapore, the company said in a statement.

In effect, this establishes the Northern Territory capital as Australia’s newest entry point for international data connectivity. DJSC will deliver 40 Tbps of internet capacity between Australia and Asia – unlocking Darwin as a major new data hub for the Asia-Pacific and opening up the Pilbara mining region for low-latency connectivity into Singapore.

Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP said: “Submarine cables are vital infrastructure, connecting Australia to the rest of the world. This new international cable landing in Darwin will provide more capacity and additional redundancy for Australia, and I welcome this investment from Vocus.”

“Vocus is delivering the four largest telecommunications network projects in Northern Australia, cementing our position as the leading fibre infrastructure investor in Australia today,” said Vocus Group Managing Director and CEO Kevin Russell.

“We’ve delivered Terabit Territory – a 25-times increase in capacity into Darwin. We’ve delivered a submarine cable from Darwin to the Tiwi Islands. We’re progressing Project Horizon – a new 2,000 km fibre connection from Perth to Port Hedland and onto Darwin. And today we’ve announced the Darwin-Jakarta-Singapore Cable, the first international submarine connection into Darwin.”

The announcement coincides with the completion of the ‘Terabit Territory’ project with the Northern Territory Government, which has seen Vocus deploy 200 Gbps (Gigabits per second, per wavelength) technology on its domestic fibre network into Darwin.

Vocus’ Darwin fibre routes now have 20 Tbps (Terabytes per second) of capacity, scalable to deliver up to 480 Tbps of total capacity – with a future upgrade path in place to deliver 400 Gbps technology as it becomes commercially available.

The DJSC has been in the works for several years and this marks the final stage in a sequence of major infrastructure builds by Vocus in Australia’s North and West. The DJSC will interconnect with the 4,600 km ASC between Perth and Singapore and the 2,100 km NWCS between Port Hedland and Darwin, with the completed system expected to be online by mid-2023.

Interconnect with Project Horizon

The new system will also interconnect with Vocus’ in-progress Project Horizon fibre from Perth to Port Hedland, with the completed network providing unparalleled redundancy and reliability for Vocus customers in the Pilbara region and Australia’s North and West.

Vocus has commenced commercial discussions with potential customers in the Mining, Oil and Gas sectors, as well as Government and major international Over-The-Top (OTT) service providers with the highest bandwidth and redundancy requirements.

The ‘Terabit Territory’ network upgrade announced by NT Chief Minister Mick Gunner in February 2020 has seen Vocus’ network routes from Adelaide to Darwin to Brisbane upgraded from 10Gbps technology to cutting-edge 200Gbps technology – with a clear upgrade path to double this capacity again to 400Gbps when the technology becomes commercially available.

This has led to a 25-times increase in Vocus’ total network capacity between Darwin and other mainland capitals, allowing future data traffic from Singapore and Jakarta to flow through Darwin on to other Australian capitals and regional centres.

Venkatesh Ganesh

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