Local News

Multi-Million Dollar Upgrades To NT Fibre-Optic Cable Network


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.