Northern Territory Government Newsroom


Tiwi Islanders will have reliable, future-proofed and weather-resistant telecommunications infrastructure for the first time, with the Territory Labor Government investing $8.5 million to establish a 46km undersea optic fibre cable to the Islands, in partnership with the Vocus Group. 

The undersea link will mean better mobile phone and broadband services on the Islands, opening up new economic opportunities for local businesses and creating local jobs. The link will also provide Tiwi people with better access to tele and digital health services and improve their digital literacy and skills. 

Mobile and land line phones are currently connected via a high speed digital radio link to Darwin, and the National Broadband Network provides satellite broadband services. Broadband and mobile phone services are at capacity and cannot meet any growth in demand.

Services to the Islands are periodically cut due to weather or equipment malfunction and can result in no telecommunications for days. Each cyclone season the infrastructure is at risk of damage which cuts telecommunications services at the worst time and requires expensive repairs to reinstate services.

Vocus built, own and operate an undersea optic fibre trunk network from Darwin to Port Hedland (North West Cable System), linking offshore platforms providing advanced broadband connectivity solutions for facilities operating offshore as well as forming a key component of their national backbone. Through a 'branching unit' in the North West Cable System, Vocus are able to cable link to the Tiwi Islands.

The undersea optic fibre connection to the Tiwi Islands will enable contemporary and reliable telecommunications services to the Tiwi Islands at the same standard as other NT urban centres. 

Quotes from Minister for Corporate and Information Services, Lauren Moss

“Territorians, no matter where they live, deserve to have the same access to reliable and effective telecommunications services as other Australians.  

“Access to high quality telecommunications is critical in our remote areas for health and education, for economic development and creating local jobs, for community wellbeing, and for staying connected with family and friends.”

Quotes from the Member for Arafura, Lawrence Costa

“This is great news for the Tiwi Islands.

“Reliable telecommunications services will provide opportunities for local businesses, create local jobs and the tele and digital health services will have positive outcomes for the whole community.”

Quotes from Vocus Group CEO, Kevin Russell

“The new Tiwi Islands link builds on our substantial network infrastructure investment activities in Regional Australia and long standing commitment to the Northern Territory.

“Affordable and reliable fibre optic connectivity is a fundamental pre-requisite for the participation in the global digital economy. Vocus is pleased to play its role in delivering this capability to the communities of the Tiwi Islands.”

Media contact: Trish Grimshaw 0401 119 242