Vocus and ASN begin Australia-Singapore Cable deployment
28 March 2018 | James Pearce
Vocus Communications has begun laying the Australia-Singapore Cable which will link Perth to Singapore via Jakarta and Christmas Island.
The laying of most of the 4,600km cable is due to be finished by 20 April, with the initial deployment being laid by the Ile de Baatz ship. This vessel will lay around 3,000km.
The other 1,600km will run between Singapore and Christmas Island - an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean – and will be deployed by the Ile de Re ship. Both ships are owned by Alcatel Submarine Networks, which has been tasked with constructing and installing the cable system.
“We could have done the entire lay with one vessel, but we decided to use two. Not only does this speed up things up, but the conditions for each of the two stages are quite different,” said Vocus head of network product, pricing and carrier, Luke Mackinnon.
Vocus aims to take the four-pair fibre cable, which will deliver a minimum of 40Tbps, live by July 2018. The deployment will boost the company’s fibre network to 21,000km. The ASC project is expected to cost $170m over the build period.
In a report commissioned on the ASC project in early 2016, telecom data market experts TeleGeography estimated demand for bandwidth between Australia and Asia would exceed 50Tbps by 2029. The report estimates ASC has the opportunity to capture a minimum of 15.5Tbps of capacity sales by year-end 2029, resulting in expected revenues of at least $550m over this period, by which time ASC will have been operating for only 40% of its effective life. TeleGeography estimates that by 2019, 30 percent of Australia’s overall international bandwidth will be connected to Asia.
“We’re very pleased with the progress being made on the ASC project and it is something the company has been focused on for a long time. Now it is a reality, we are having deep engagement with a range of customers who are planning on leveraging the cable in their business from day one,” says Mick Simmons, Interim CEO of Vocus Group.
“The ASC represents the latest submarine cable technology, delivering superior reliability and much-needed diversity to an important route. This milestone means we’re one step closer to bringing customers an alternative to the fragile Sea-Me-We 3 system which is nearing end of life,” he says.
ASC was a key strategic consideration in Vocus’ decision to purchase Nextgen Networks, as it, in combination with Nextgen’s trans-Australian fibre network, creates a fully interconnected, high capacity fibre network owned by Vocus from the East Coast of Australia through to Singapore (via Perth), with direct connectivity into Indonesia.
In January, ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (STT GDC) has announced that its Singapore data centre facility is to become Vocus point of presence (PoP) in Singapore for its Australia Singapore Cable.
At the beginning of 2018, Vocus announced plans to spin off its wholesale arm and enterprise division into separate operating units.