A new undersea fibre-optic cable will be extended to the Sunshine Coast, giving the region Australia’s fastest telecommunications connection to Asia from 2020.

The International Broadband Submarine Cable will be delivered by RTI Connectivity for the Sunshine Coast Council – the first Australian council to secure a communications project of this magnitude.

RTI is currently leading a consortium with Google and AARNet to build a 9,600-kilometre submarine cable between Japan, Guam, and Australia (JGA-South), with a 550-kilometre branch to connect the JGA-South cable to a new landing station at Maroochydore City Centre.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said securing a Queensland landing point for the cable was a long-term economic game-changer that would benefit the entire state.

‘The reality is only a small volume of international telecommunications is delivered via satellite, with 95–99% of Australia’s internet needs serviced by a limited number of undersea cables coming into Sydney and Perth,’ he said.

‘This is a risk and limitation for Australia’s internet connectivity and commercial data centre capacity, particularly here in Queensland, where a majority of our telecommunications traffic has to be routed through Sydney.

‘A submarine cable on the Sunshine Coast will not only diversify the landing locations for telecommunications traffic, but will also provide speed, reliability and capacity improvements for the whole of the state, as well as cheaper connections for Queenslanders who will no longer have to pay for international data to travel via Sydney.’

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said the international broadband cable would deliver major economic benefits to the region.

‘The Sunshine Coast is a rapidly growing region and this project will help drive the continued diversification of our local economy, generate revenue, and position our region to attract new business and investment, particularly organisations with big-data requirements,’ he said.

‘Our studies have indicated that this project will create up to 864 new jobs for our local region and could add $927 million to the Queensland economy.’

The Queensland Government is supporting the undersea cable project with $15 million from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.

Construction will begin on land-based sections of the new network in early 2019, with the cable scheduled to be ready for service by 2020.

Asia is identified as Queensland’s most important export market in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022, which also supports greater digital capabilities for Queensland businesses.

For advice or support on local trade and investment opportunities, contact TIQ’s Sunshine Coast office.