Aside from speaking with the cable owners and operators at Submarine Networks World 2017, we also spoke
with Greg Laverty, Director of Economic Development and Major Projects at the Sunshine Coast Regional Council in Australia. He spoke with us about their efforts to attract cable systems to land in Southern Queensland, a venture which has the backing of a wide cross-section of support throughout Australian Government circles, including that of the Prime Minister. Asked why there was such overwhelming support, Greg told us there is desperate need right now for landing diversity in Australia. There are currently five international submarine cables providing international connectivity into the country, four of which land in Sydney and one in Perth. Given the close proximity of the four cables in Sydney, there are significant risks for Australia’s international communications and data centre capacity should any of them be threatened. Adding an additional cable into the Sunshine Coast would then provide much greater resilience for all Australians it is felt.
From Queensland to the US
There are good economic reasons why this part of Australia makes the most sense to land another cable. For starters, the location is 1000 km closer to the US than Sydney. The area is demonstrating healthy economic growth, and could no doubt benefit further from enhanced connectivity. Gross Regional Product is more than $17 billion and is forecast to grow to $33 billion by 2033, whilst the 4.09%average annual growth is higher than Australia’s average annual growth rate of 3.04%.
The Sunshine Coast Regional Council are also well aware of the economic benefits a cable could bring to the region. It is estimated that the proposed submarine cable and associated facilities will deliver up to: AUD 900 million+ annually to the Queensland economy and a further AUD 30 – 40 million of cost savings of international backhaul to Sydney.
It is unsurprising therefore that the project is receiving substantial interest also from local businesses and other major users of broadband. Benefits to these organisations will include access to cheaper backhaul with a local data centre alleviating the need for cloud storage in Sydney.
For the Sunshine Coast University hospital, the cable opens up the opportunity for the hospital to engage in high speed and large capacity exchange of data with international hospitals, universities and research facilities. Likewise, for the Sunshine Coast University the cable opens up the opportunity to expand the array of courses available and to connect with international universities and research facilities. Enhanced internet access will also go a long way to supporting the efforts to develop Maroochydore City Centre on the Sunshine Coast into a Smart City.
The Regional Council hope that by December they will be in serious conversation with tendered bids and that by 2020 a cable system can be built. Let’s hope all goes well for what looks to be a win-win project for everyone involved.
This article is part of a series of 15 interviews with leading cable project owners around the world, which we’ve compiled into the ebook “Submarine Networks Projects 2017”. Download a free copy of it here.
If you’d like to meet these cable owners and operators together with other leaders from the industry, you should join us at Submarine Networks World 2018, which takes place 24 – 26 September in Singapore. Firmly established as the must-attend annual meeting for industry players from all around the world, preparations are already underway for another year of inspiring ideas, extensive networking and lively debates, with a conference programme covering key industry issues ranging from New Demand Drivers to Marine Operations, as well as a brand new Innovation Zone featuring presentations on the latest R&D projects.
Keen to learn more? Get in touch with the team: