Vocus, Australia’s specialist fibre and network solutions provider, has begun the rollout of the final $100M segment of its Darwin-Jakarta-Singapore Cable (DJSC) system.

The new 1,000km cable, with capacity of up to 40Tbps, will form the final link in Vocus’ Darwin-Jakarta-Singapore Cable system (DJSC), a $500m ecosystem of cables connecting Darwin, Port Hedland, Perth, Christmas Island, Jakarta, and Singapore – unlocking Darwin as a major new data hub for the Asia-Pacific.

Specifically, the cable will link Vocus’ existing Australia Singapore Cable (ASC) that runs from Perth to Singapore via Christmas Island and Jakarta, and the North-West Cable System (NWCS) running between Darwin and Port Hedland. Once complete, the DJSC system will also interconnect with Project Horizon, Vocus’ forthcoming 2,000km terrestrial fibre connection from Port Hedland to Perth, creating a massive new onshore/offshore network loop for improved resilience and redundancy.

Vocus Darwin Jakarta Singapore Cable System Map
Vocus’ new $100M cable segment will form a 1000km link between the existing Australia-Singapore Cable and the North-West Cable System. The overall Darwin-Jakarta-Singapore system will be 7,700KM long and provide the first direct international connectivity out of Darwin. It’s due for completion in mid-2023. Image: Vocus


Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) is constructing the cable for Vocus. Optic Marine’s cable laying vessel Ile de Re is laying the cable off the coast of Port Hedland and will navigate to the ASC in the Indian Ocean to connect into it before the expected go-live date of mid-2023.

Optic Marine submarine cable laying vessel Ile de Re
Vocus’ new $100M cable on the move in Optic Marine’s cable laying vessel Ile de Re, commissioned by Alcatel Submarine Networks who Vocus have commissioned to build the cable. Image: Vocus/Salty Davenport.


First international connectivity to Darwin

The new cable segment will provide Darwin with its first direct international fibre link by mid-2023, providing ultrafast, low-latency bandwidth to Singapore and Jakarta.

It also adds additional redundancy to Vocus’ network, protecting customers on the ASC against potential outages on the southern section of the cable, and providing users of the upcoming Project Horizon cable through the Pilbara with a secondary international connection.

Vocus CEO Ellie Sweeney said the project had been years in the making. “The completion of our Darwin-Jakarta-Singapore Cable system will open up new possibilities for the north-west of Australia, providing direct international connectivity into Darwin as an alternative route to Perth or the east coast of Australia.”

“Organisations in Australia’s north-west that send traffic over the DJSC will benefit from high performance connectivity to regional head offices in Asia, and secure, low-latency access to cloud applications,” Ms Sweeney said. “We have seen immediate interest from customers, particularly those in the resources sector,” she added.


Newest cable technology

The armoured four-fibre-pair cable receives energy from shore and uses 14 active network repeaters to maintain signal strength across the segment. It uses the latest dense wavelength-division multiplexing fibre technology, allowing for future capacity upgrades.

An innovative optical switch on the seabed will allow Vocus’ network operation team to remotely balance and optimise the amount of optical wavelength available for different routes on the cable. This enhancement is an improvement on most previous cable systems which were built with fixed optical allocation for each destination.


Land, sea, and space infrastructure investment

The cable rollout is part of Vocus’ $1 billion five-year infrastructure investment strategy, which includes capacity upgrades to the company’s existing network and the deployment of substantial new fibre infrastructure – including the $150 million, 2,000km Project Horizon terrestrial fibre cable from Perth to Port Hedland in the north-west of Australia.

It also follows the company’s launch of Vocus Satellite – Starlink in December, after Vocus signed an agreement to offer the advanced low earth orbit satellite (LEO) services to enterprise and government customers across Australia.

Vocus earlier this month announced it would be acquiring its long term partner Challenge Networks, a global leader in deploying private LTE and 5G networks.