• Fibre optic submarine cables give us fixed line connections
  • Big companies like TPG and Telstra own their own backhaul
  • Five cables enter Australia through Perth or Sydney

Australia receives its fixed line broadband internet from super-long fibre optic submarine cables that zigzag across the world. Approximately five of these cables currently enter Australia through Perth or Sydney, with two more planned for the near future.

Southern Cross Cable Network (Optus):

One of Australia’s main cables is the Southern Cross Cable Network, which is 30,500km long, and travels from California to Hawaii, to New Zealand, to Sydney, and then back to Fiji, Hawaii, and finally arriving in Oregon, USA. Sections of this cable are over seven kilometres below sea level. It only takes seven hundredths of a second for data to go from Australia to the USA, and on June 10, 2011 the network had a successful trial of a 100 Gigabit per second (Gbps) transmission. Within two years Southern Cross anticipates upgraded speeds of at least 620Gbps. This twin cable network is partly owned by Optus (1300 137 897).

Telstra Endeavour Cable Network:

This 9,125km fibre optic pipe stretches from Hawaii to Sydney. As the majority of Australian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use the Telstra infrastructure, we can assume this pipe is currently one of Australia’s main sources of broadband internet.

Pipe Pacific Cable (TPG):

Owned by Pipe Networks, which in turn is owned by TPG Broadband, this 6,900km long cable stretches from Guam to Papua New Guinea, then on to Sydney. Presumably this pipe is the reason why TPG (1300 106 571) is able to offer such cheap ADSL2+ broadband deals.

Australia-Japan Cable (AJC) Network:

The 12,700km cable stretches from Japan to Guam, then on to Australia. It too is partly owned by Telstra. This cable currently runs at speeds of up to 320Gbps.

SeaMeWe-3 Cable Network:

This is a massive network that is partly owned by 48 companies, including both Telstra and Optus. The network is 39,000km long, starting in Northern Europe, and finally ending in South Korea and Perth. It has stations in nearly 40 locations, including Germany, Portugal, Turkey, Africa, India, China, Indonesia and many more countries along the way.

Pacific Fibre Network:

The 12,750km long network will travel from California to New Zealand, and then on towards Sydney. It is expected to be running by the beginning of 2014. The Pacific Fibre Network is needed because Australasia’s demand for international broadband capacity has increased by 55% from 2002 to 2010. This network will help to remove the need for the current copper wire network in Australia, which severely affects internet speeds Australians receive at home. Each of the fibre pair cables will have a 5.12 Tbps capacity, with 40Gbps wavelength.

Australia-Singapore Cable (ASC) Network:

The ASC fibre optic pipe network goes straight from Singapore to Perth, and stretches for 4,800km. It will be ready for service in mid-2013.

Gondwana-1 Network:

This relatively small network has been laid between Sydney and Noumea in nearby New Caledonia. It is 2,151km long, and is owned by New Caledonian telecommunications provider OTC.