Work has commenced in Port Hedland on Australia’s first purpose-built subsea fibre optic network for the oil and gas industries.

The 2000km cable stretching from landing stations in Port Hedland to Darwin is being built and operated by Nextgen Group, a national telecommunications provider who operates one of Australia’s largest inter-capital fibre networks, spanning more than 19,000kms.

CEO David Yuile said that he expected the high-speed network to be available for on-boarding customers in the second half of 2016.

“The Nextgen North West Cable System will bring much-needed, ultra-speed connectivity to off-shore oil and gas facilities and provide workforces with increased communications reliability and improved bandwidth capacity for HSE applications currently limited by satellite technologies.

“We are now beginning the deployment phase in Port Hedland and working closely with the industry to bring choice and flexibility to local resource companies through these new services; something that has not been enjoyed before,” Mr Yuile said.

“The cable system also connects the Pilbara region, which has 44,000 employees and exports in excess or $47b AUD annually, making it key for economic growth in Australia.”

Port Hedland businesses are welcoming the North West Cable System project, with strong support from local communities including the Town of Port Hedland.

Town of Port Hedland Mayor Kelly Howlett said she was pleased Port Hedland was part of Nextgen’s North West Cable System project.

“The Town is working closely with Nextgen to take Port Hedland into the next phase of digital optimisation” said Mayor Howlett.

“The installation of the subsea fibre optic network will not only provide industry with greater telecommunications options, but it will also allow greater service to Port Hedland residents, local businesses and community members.

“It will also underpin the future growth and emergence of new industries in the town as we continuously move to open and diversify business and industry in Port Hedland and indeed the greater Pilbara region”.

Nextgen is working closely with the Town of Port Hedland on all aspects of the build including environmental, safety and logistics.