After years of delay, Basslink said today that it had made its first connection over the new fibre-optic cable between Tasmania and the mainland a few days ago.
"The section between the converter stations in Loy Yang (Victoria) and Georgetown (Tasmania) is now operational, with the first 10Gbps wavelength active as part of initial testing. Additional wavelengths are being tested and commissioned in coming weeks," Basslink CEO Malcolm Eccles said in a statement.
A key facet of the build had been installing and commissioning amplifiers at either end of the cable, since there were no undersea repeaters under the strait. This has now been completed, according to the company.
Basslink Telecoms general manager Michael Coates said the fibre-optics in the subsea cable were now lit, with only the Victorian land backhaul sections to be finished which run from the cable's landing point to Melbourne. "This means the Tasmanian end is now connected to the mainland and is ready to receive Basslink traffic into Hobart," he said in a statement.
Coates and Eccles were both confident that the rest of the build would be finished according to plan and that the network would be fully operational by the end of June.
Plans for the Basslink cable were initially drawn up in 2000. In August 2007, Singaporean company CitySpring Infrastructure Trust, bought it for over $1 billion. The government, Aurora energy and the new owners were then bogged in negotiations about how to commercialise the cable until November last year when an agreement was reached.