Submarine cable for Sunshine Coast one step closer

Council prepares for feasibility study

The Sunshine Coast Council is funding a feasibility study for its proposal to land a submarine cable in the region.

The council late last week released an invitation to tender for the study into the proposed cable, which forms part of its 20-year economic strategy for the region.

The intention is to have a study completed by the end of August this year.

“The Sunshine Coast is ideally placed to land a new international submarine cable by virtue of its proximity to Asia and distance from Sydney,” tender documents state.

“Potentially, the Sunshine Coast is the first viable landing point on the east coast of Australia (travelling south from Cape York) for a new cable that links the eastern seaboard to Asia and/or to the United States.”

The council argues that unlike other major coastal areas in the state, the Sunshine Coast is not constrained by the Great Barrier Reef and also lacks regulated port areas and shipping lanes, on-shore national parks, and marine parks that could potentially be a barrier to landing a cable.

“The Sunshine Coast is also more than 1000 kilometres north of Sydney – meaning that significant performance benefit would be realised by the Sunshine Coast and south east Queensland,” tender documents state.

“Because of the distance from Sydney, a location like the Sunshine Coast also mitigates the single point of failure risk that currently exists with all cables landing in Sydney.”

An AEC Group analysis prepared for the council forecasts an annual economic boost of $700 million for the Sunshine Coast  and $1.1 billion for Queensland.

The federal government is contributing $250,000 to help fund the feasibility study, which will assess the financial and commercial viability of landing an undersea cable on the Sunshine Coast and any resulting capital and investment opportunities.

Australia’s west coast is slated to receive a new connection to Asia thanks to the INDIGO cable system (previously known as the APX West and Central cable system).

The 9000-kilometre cable will connect Singapore, Australia and Indonesia. In Australia the cable will land in Perth, and from there connect to Sydney.

The cable system is backed by AARNet, Google, Indosat Ooredoo, Optus' parent company Singtel, Superloop, and Telstra

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