FEPL to build $1.5bn infrastructure hub - Project Koete

FEPL to build $1.5bn infrastructure hub - Project Koete

15 March 2021 | Natalie Bannerman

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Fibre Expressway Pty Ltd (FEPL) has unveiled details of Project Koete, its $1.5 billion technology ecosystem in Western Australia and Northern Territory.

Comprised of 10,000km subsea cable and three Tier IV data centres, Project Koete will provide data and internet connectivity between Perth and Darwin, while providing additional onward connectivity to international business hubs in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and beyond.

The unnamed 16 fibre pair subsea cable will be a carrier-neutral system delivery high-speed, low-latency connectivity to the aforementioned three data centres in Perth, Darwin and Dampier. En-route, it will also connect seven cable landing stations (CLS) between Perth and Darwin.

“This will be the most significant technological investment Western Australia and the Northern Territory have ever seen,” said Gary Kennedy, CEO of FEPL.

“The ecosystem will support the region’s most significant developments, including the enhanced digitisation of oil fields supporting next-generation digital infrastructure including IoT, artificial intelligence, and even support the monitoring of underwater seismic activity to help predict tsunamis, maritime activity and its impact on global warming and, water temperature and level.”

In addition to being built to the Tier IV Uptime Institute standard, the three new data centre facilities will offer high levels of security and efficiency. The initial capacity for each will be 20MW with pre-built capacity for future growth requirements.

“We’re partnering with wind, solar and, in the longer term, ocean and clean hydrogen providers to satisfy the need for 100% renewable energy access over time,” said Peter Bannister, group managing director at FEPL.

“We’re targeting 30 plus years’ scalability assuredness, enabling customers to plan for decades, not just years. By working with our global partner network, we’re confident Project Koete will be delivered under world-leading governance and rule-of-law standards.”

The project will be funded by approximately $650 million in senior debt and a further $850 million in equity, both of which are in progress and open for new investors.

Once complete, this ecosystem will create new terrestrial connectivity options for remote indigenous communities and mining industries as well as providing mobile operators new solution options. The project is expected to bring hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy.

“As well as being a key driver for construction, engineering and other jobs as well as huge investment in the region, Project Koete will provide benefits to Indigenous communities by way of jobs and eHealth and eLearning,” added Kennedy.

“It will provide capacity for multinational cloud giants and global financial services companies to diversify beyond traditional data centre hubs such as Sydney, Melbourne and Singapore. It will also provide valuable infrastructure on which telcos can build new services.”