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Sorry, Tasmania: Talks On Under-Sea Cable Link Stall

Negotiations between the Tasmanian Government and Bevan Slattery’s SubPartners on building a third fibre-optic cable connecting Tasmania to the mainland have reportedly stalled.

The news comes despite Brisbane-based SubPartners two years ago inviting the Tassie Government to chip in $20 million to tap into what it predicted would be the latest arm of a planned global digital cable network.

The company had announced plans to lay a submarine cable, dubbed APC-East, from Perth to Sydney, and suggested a spur could connect Tasmania at either Hobart or George Town.

Technology Minister Michael Ferguson commissioned a consultant to assess the business case, but yesterday told the ABC that SubPartners had never followed through with a firm proposition.

The news comes as Tasmania continues to wrestle with problems in the supply of both power and network connections, following the deliberate cutting of the Basslink cable linking Tasmania with Victoria earlier this year. The two cables were cut to allow work on an energy cable fault, causing huge problems for Tasmanian Internet customers, as well as carriers such as TPG – forced to take up more expensive capacity on Telstra’s separate cables.

Sub-Partners’ boss Bevan Slattery recently announced that, thanks to the signing of a consortium deal by Telstra and Singtel, work would begin on his APX-West Singapore-Perth submarine cable in July (CDN, April 1) and hopefully be finished by early 2018. There was no mention at that stage of the Perth-Sydney link, let alone a Tasmanian connection – or the grander vision for the 12,500km APX-East cable linking Sydney to California.

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