Trident, the company behind plans to launch a new AU$400 million cable between Perth, the Pilbara, and Singapore, has said that its arrangement with Matrix Networks in Indonesia puts it ahead of other planned Australia-to-Singapore cables.
The cable, which Trident has said will be targeted at the mining, oil, and gas industries as well as the state government, was announced late last month, after the company received the backing of Beijing Construction and Engineering Group with the support of the China Development Bank.
The project is well in the planning stages; the company is working to get approval for all the landing sites, and construction is expected to commence in January, with a completion date between 18 and 24 months after that. The project is expected to employ 100 or so people during the construction phase. Trident CEO Mark de Kock told ZDNet that the capacity on the cable would be varied depending on the location.
"In a nutshell, the international capacity will be 16 terabits per second, but there's a mix of capacity that is delivered on the express fibre from Australia to Singapore. There's other capacity that goes from Australia to Jakarta, and there is obviously capacity that goes from Perth to Onslo and then onto the Pilbara," he said.
Overnight, Trident announced that Fujitsu would come on board as a strategic partner for the project to deliver the fibre telecommunications network between Perth, the Pilbara, Indonesia, and Singapore. de Kock said that Fujitsu will be responsible for project management and the overall construction process.
The company will now work to get approvals and commence planning for construction, de Kock said. Trident is also in the process of developing plans to build datacentres at every landing point, he added.
"It will require all the normal DAs and council approvals. We're already liaising with the water utilities and power utilities in the area. All those elements will determine the exact location of the datacentres, which has not been locked in," he said.
"[In the meantime] we can obviously commence the construction of the backbone of the fibre and where exactly the fibre lands in that locations, [but] we're very confident we can build the datacentres within the time frame we have."
Trident will also be working to sign up as many new clients as possible to co-locate in those datacentres, he said, but indicated that the datacentres could be delayed if demand isn't there yet.
"If we find that in one location that the demand isn't there right now, we might delay one or two of those datacentres somewhat, but from the conversations we've had in the marketplace, there seems to be a very high degree of demand in the mining and energy sectors."
de Kock said that one of the most complicated parts of the project was getting approval to land in Indonesia, something that he said cable rival SubPartners is struggling with.
"The biggest challenge in laying a cable that goes from Australia to Singapore is traditionally getting the Indonesian landing site and approval and permits to pass through Indonesian territorial waters. That particular problem we've already addressed by purchasing two fibre pairs on Matrix Networks."
de Kock said this puts Trident ahead of the SubPartners and the Leighton Contractors planned Perth-to-Singapore cable.
"Overall, in terms of the business case and in terms of speed to market and starting construction, I think that is our key competitive advantage in building this network," he said.
"Together with combining the business case of the Pilbara customer base, it gives us a very strong commercial advantage, but also gives us first-mover advantage."
Chris de Josselin, National Oil & Gas director for Fujitsu Australia, told ZDNet that the company's strong local presence in WA and involvement in the two subsea cables that land in WA helped secure its role in the Trident project.
"It makes it a pretty nice fit to the broader Trident initiatives," he said.