Blog

Sunshine Coast Submarine Broadband Cable by 2020

Friday, September 07, 2018, by Project Urban

Within two years, the Sunshine Coast will be connected to an international submarine broadband cable, providing direct connectivity to the world.

A contract to bring the 550km undersea fibre optic cable to the Sunshine Coast has just been signed between RTI Connectivity Pty Ltd, partners in a consortium building the Japan-Guam-Australia cable, and Sunshine Coast Regional Council.

This is a significant achievement and I strongly believe the undersea cable will result in the greatest advancement for the Sunshine Coast economy that we've ever seen. 

The demand for data and connectivity is increasing exponentially, and now, the Sunshine Coast will be home to the fastest, international broadband connection point to Asia.

This makes our region very attractive as an investment location, especially for the banking and finance sectors, big tech companies like Amazon and other industries reliant on online transactions and there are huge benefits for remote medical diagnostics.  In short, access to super fast, international connectivity, will attract some of the world’s biggest data users to our region.

The $35 million undersea cable connection is being jointly funded by Sunshine Coast Council and the Queensland Government.  Estimations for new investment in the Sunshine Coast economy as a result of the undersea cable are for an additional $927 million.

Currently, Australia is connected to the world by five submarine cables (four are located in Sydney and one is in Perth). These cables carry 99% of Australia’s total internet traffic. The Sunshine Coast will become cable number six, with a landing station at Maroochydore. This is because it’s geographically closer to Asia.  From Maroochydore to Guam, the cable connects to a Trans-Pacific cable connecting South-East Asia and the United States. 

In effect, the Sunshine Coast route will deliver traffic faster than the Sydney route. So how fast is fast?
 
Australia’s current average internet speed is ranked 50th in the world (at 11.1 megabits / second). We lag well behind the USA (25.86 megabits / second) and this is woeful compared to the 60.39 megabits / second achieved in Singapore. Undersea cables can transmit 20 terabits per second, which is around 1.8 million times faster than our current internet speeds. Businesses need the fastest communications path between two locations and the ability to store data.
 
The new cable from the Sunshine Coast will enable this to happen.