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Vocus to build cable link from Darwin to Tiwi Islands

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Telecommunications provider Vocus Group will build a new fibre-optic cable link between Darwin and the Tiwi Islands in collaboration with the Northern Territory Government.

A statement from the company this would provide communities on Melville and Bathurst Islands with their first reliable, high-capacity fibre-optic link to the mainland.

The specialist vendors who will undertake the work at sea are Alcatel Submarine Networks and Fugro. After technical specifications are finalised, the work is expected to take nine months.

"Under a Capital Grant arrangement with the Northern Territory Government, Vocus will build, own and operate the sub-sea system, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019," the statement said. "The connection will be established though a Branching Unit already provisioned in the Vocus sub-sea North West Cable System asset and will:

"Utilise the pre-existing Vocus Cable Landing Station Facility located at Mindil Beach in Darwin; "Construct a new 60km sub-sea spur cable between the NWCS Branching Unit and the Tiwi Islands; and "Utilise a pre-existing facility located at Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island as the Cable Landing Station."

Vocus Group chief executive Kevin Russell said: "Construction of the Tiwi Islands cable builds on our substantial network infrastructure investment activities in the Northern Territory.

“The new fibre optic link provides an historic opportunity to replace the existing sub-optimal microwave link to the mainland, removing capacity constraints and improving telecommunication services to the Tiwi Islands.

"Poor weather causes significant interruptions to microwave telecommunication links and the tropical conditions in the Tiwi Islands frequently mean that essential services that rely on connectivity cannot be delivered.

“Affordable and reliable fibre optic connectivity is a fundamental pre-requisite for the participation in the global digital economy. Vocus is pleased to play its role in delivering this capability to the communities of the Tiwi Islands.”

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