Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson at the opening of the submarine cable network in Maroochydore. Photo: John McCutcheon
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson at the opening of the submarine cable network in Maroochydore. Photo: John McCutcheon

$35m award-winning cable with just one connection

A $35 million subsea broadband cable has won awards for innovation, despite having made only one connection to-date.

Sunshine Coast Council's international broadband submarine cable, a joint initiative of council, State Government, RTI Connectivity and Alcatel Submarine Networks, was completed in April.

It was brought ashore at Maroochydore Beach and connected to a cable landing station on Maud St, near the new Maroochydore CBD.

Council hopes to resolve contract dispute quickly

A council spokeswoman confirmed one company, wireless internet provider OneQode, had announced it had "deployed equipment to commence operations out of the cable landing station" and several others had indicated their interest in connecting.

Council won an Australian Achievement of the Year Award at the MAV Technology Awards for Excellence earlier this month for its delivery of the submarine cable project.

It was reported some local businesses had saved up to 40 per cent on internet bills, with a council spokesman advising earlier this month that Telstra and TPG had changed the Sunshine Coast's status from regional to metropolitan, which meant businesses could access internet pricing plans comparable with those in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

The International Broadband Submarine Cable Project was brought ashore at Maroochydore Beach.
The International Broadband Submarine Cable Project was brought ashore at Maroochydore Beach.

A council spokeswoman this week said companies such as Huddle and Office HQ had expanded to the Coast, citing the cable as a "drawcard for their business".

"QCN Fibre has announced it intends to be a tenant of the cable landing station which will provide important terrestrial connectivity across Queensland and additional paths to and from the Sunshine Coast - this is exactly what big data and big businesses are looking for," the spokeswoman said.

Council was unable to confirm how many connections the cable could cater for at full capacity, nor could it quantify the number of jobs the cable had created since it was brought ashore.

"The submarine cable is a 25-year project," the council spokeswoman said.

"It is not possible to predict the number of businesses that will eventually connect to the cable over the 25 year period.

"Additionally, the number of businesses and customers that are serviced by individual internet service providers is unlikely to be available or disclosed to council."

40pc off: New tech brings down Coast business bills

Council had previously touted the project as being forecast to deliver up to 864 new jobs and stimulate $927 million in new investment in the state.

"The economic benefits and jobs created by the cable will be calculated periodically over the lifetime of the 25 year life of the project," the spokeswoman said.

"The cable has only been in service since earlier this year and, as such, these calculations have not yet been undertaken.

The Sunshine Coast international broadband submarine cable landing site at Maroochydore during its construction.
The Sunshine Coast international broadband submarine cable landing site at Maroochydore during its construction.

"The capacity on the cable can, and will, be increased as required. The frequency and extent of these capacity upgrades over the next 25 years is currently unknown."

The spokeswoman said as more internet service providers and telecommunication companies hooked up to the cable it would create more options and opportunities, bringing down prices and improving service standards.

"Ultimately, the cable means more jobs and more business in our local economy - at a time when it's needed most," the spokeswoman said.

"Attracting new businesses to the region will help to stimulate investment and high paying jobs, and in turn will have a positive impact on the local supply chain.

"Council will continue to play a facilitation and partnership role to ensure the opportunities from the cable are realised.

"This will include the private sector as well as other levels of government and we are looking forward to being able to make further announcements in the near future."

Council was understood to have contributed about $20 million to the project, with a further $15 million coming from the State Government.


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