Western Australia’s telecommunications capabilities are set to receive a major boost from an ambitious $400 million plan to link Perth to South-east Asia via a transnational subsea cable spanning thousands of kilometres.
Trident Subsea Cable unveiled its plans for the project in Melbourne this week, as it inked a $320 million financial commitment with Beijing Construction and Engineering Group, which enjoys the backing of the China Development Bank.
The plan proposes linking Perth to Singapore via a 4,600 kilometre underwater cable which will traverse international waters, passing through Onslow in the Pilbara and Jakarta in Indonesia.
It also outlines the construction of a subsea cable around the North West Shelf and an onshore connection between Perth and Port Hedland.
The project is expected to provide a major boost Western Australia's telecommunications connectivity, particularly in the state's key mining and minerals hub of the Pilbara.
Trident saysit will allow the state government, as well as players in Western Australia's mining, oil and gas sectors, to avail themselves of the infrastructure as well as provide a datacentre co-location in the state.
State commerce minister Michael Mischin hailed the private sector initiative as making a vital contribution to the telecommunications infrastructure of Western Australia, which will facilitate the operations of multinational corporations in the region.
"The Government supports any proposal to improve telecommunications infrastructure, particularly in WA's North-West, as the region is significantly important to the State's economy and to Australia," Mr. Mischin said.
"Trident's project will support the increasing bandwidth and international connectivity needs of the numerous multinational companies now operating out of WA. It will also be beneficial for the State's planned involvement in global projects, such as the Square Kilometre Array International Telescope."
The minister also noted that Trident's decision to make use local construction firms and suppliers would have a salutary impact on the state's economy.
"No doubt this proposal will offer an array of opportunities for State-based businesses in both the development and operational phases, with flow-on benefits for the State as a whole."
In January telecommunications and internet services in both Australia and New Zealand were negatively impacted by the severing of the Perth-to-Singapore SEA-ME-WE 3 cable, with iiNet stating that its international traffic options were reduced by the outage.