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The build progress of Australia’s newest transcontinental network

Follow the progress of SMAP as SUBCO builds one of the most powerful undersea cables in the world

LEARN MORE ABOUT SMAP
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UPDATES

The build progress of Australia’s newest transcontinental network

Follow the progress of SMAP as SUBCO builds one of the most powerful undersea cables in the world

Learn more about SMAP

Day 310

SMAP Build Progress

28%

Installation Permits (5)

Commonwealth

In Progress

New South Wales

In Progress

South Australia

In Progress

Victoria

In Progress

Western Australia

In Progress

Inshore

Complete

Deep Water

Complete

Terminal Equipment

Not Started

Cables

In Progress

Repeaters

In Progress

System Assembly

Not Started

Sydney

In Progress

Melbourne (Torquay)

In Progress

Adelaide

In Progress

Perth

In Progress

Cable Loading

Not Started

Transit

Not Started

Cable Laying

Not Started

Sydney

In Progress

Melbourne (Torquay)

In Progress

Adelaide

Not Started

Perth

In Progress

Acceptance Testing

Not Started

Provisional Acceptance

Not Started

SLTE Integration

Not Started

Day 310

SMAP Build Progress

28%

Installation Permits (5)

Commonwealth

In Progress

New South Wales

In Progress

South Australia

In Progress

Victoria

In Progress

Western Australia

In Progress

Inshore

Complete

Deep Water

Complete

Terminal Equipment

Not Started

Cables

In Progress

Repeaters

In Progress

System Assembly

Not Started

Sydney

In Progress

Melbourne (Torquay)

In Progress

Adelaide

In Progress

Perth

In Progress

Cable Loading

Not Started

Transit

Not Started

Cable Laying

Not Started

Sydney

In Progress

Melbourne (Torquay)

In Progress

Adelaide

Not Started

Perth

In Progress

Acceptance Testing

Not Started

Provisional Acceptance

Not Started

SLTE Integration

Not Started

Manufacture Update: Cable insulation in progress

June 18, 2024

As the SMAP cable manufacturing progresses, we are currently focused on the crucial process of insulation.

Similar to other multi-conductor cables, the optical fibres in a multi-fibre cable are insulated from one another. This insulation protects them from damage during installation and use, ensuring that each fibre can be securely terminated in the associated connector or device. Furthermore, insulation plays a significant role in maintaining optimal signal strength by creating the ideal environment for the individual fibre cores to perform effectively.

The next part of the manufacturing process will be the jacketing.

Backhaul Work Commences in Torquay

Backhaul Ducts Melbourne Survey Terrestrial Torquay

June 13, 2024

Torquay.backhual.blog

Exciting developments are taking place as backhaul work has officially commenced in Torquay!

A SUBCO-approved contractor has begun the essential route feasibility study for the installation of sub-ducts and optic fibre cables along the primary path from Torquay to Melbourne. A key part of this process is the field walk exercise, which aims to determine the availability of existing ducts. This step is crucial for ensuring that the installation proceeds smoothly and efficiently, making use of the current infrastructure wherever possible.

To identify duct availability, a technique known as rod and roping is employed. This involves verifying and feeding rope through new and existing conduits to facilitate the hauling of new fibre cables and reserving capacity.

In parallel with the rod and roping, the proving exercise has also commenced. This process includes a thorough examination of the ducts to confirm their suitability for the new optic fibre cables. By conducting these exercises simultaneously, we can expedite the overall project timeline.

Stats on the walk exercise so far:

Total Distance to be walked: 98,500m
Total Distance covered so far: 65,000m
Rod & Roped: 11,000m

Torquay Beach Manhole Update – Cultural Heritage Assessment

Beach Manhole Heritage Torquay

June 11, 2024

Soil Testing

Last week, SUBCO representatives Daniel Wright & Matt Row, in collaboration with Ochre Imprints, undertook a Cultural Heritage Assessment with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners in Torquay. This assessment is just one of many commitments to respecting the Heritage Owners and preserving any Cultural Significance on the land we operate on.

The Cultural Heritage Assessment includes the careful hand-excavation of a 1m x 1m pit within the designated area of the Beach Manholes. This type of excavation ensures the team at Ochre can closely assess the geological features of the test area. By doing so, they can make informed decisions as to whether the land is previously disturbed or if it remains in its natural, undisturbed state.

The soil removed from the test pit is not simply discarded; instead, it undergoes a thorough sifting and processing procedure. This ensures that any artefacts or items of cultural significance are carefully identified and assessed by the Wadawurrung team.

SubCO’s involvement in this procedure is part of our broader commitment to working diligently with a diverse range of stakeholders across the SMAP portfolio. Our collaboration with the Torquay Local Council, Coastal & Park Authority, and the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners is a example of how we strive for joint success in all our endeavours.

As we continue to progress with our projects, we remain committed to engaging with and learning from the Traditional Owners of the land. Their knowledge and expertise are invaluable in guiding our efforts to protect and preserve the cultural landscapes we are privileged to work on.

All Marine Surveys are now complete

Complete Marine Survey

June 6, 2024

Big news! All marine surveys have now been completed, marking a significant milestone for the SMAP build. We’re one step closer to delivering the next generation of undersea connectivity, designed for the future – driving a more connected Australia.

As it stands, the SMAP Project Overall is 26% complete.

Cross Section of an Undersea Cable Landing

Cable Design Undersea

June 4, 2024

Cross Section Of Cable Landing

When examining a cross section of a submarine cable landing, one of SUBCO’s primary commitments is ensuring minimal disturbance to local communities during construction. Additionally, SUBCO strives to ensure that, post-construction, the cable deployment remains virtually invisible.

Each landing for SMAP (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth) requires a custom approach tailored to local conditions. The team works tirelessly to design these landings in a way that minimises environmental impact – which is why the surveys are of critical importance.

Manufacture Update: Repeater builds have commenced

May 30, 2024

Repeater.hero

At the end of 2023, the SUBCO team visited the ASN Manufacturing Facilities in London and Calais, which was part of the tech demonstration of the manufacturing of the Repeaters, Branching Units and Cable. As we are now well underway with the manufacturing process, initial tests have been completed to ensure the cable aligns with the performance specifications.

The post assembly verification tests for the repeaters included, but weren’t limited to:

  • The repeater parameters (configuration topologies)
  • The optical gain and the optical output power
  • The optical gain characteristics and optical output power
  • The repeater Noise Figure
  • The optical supervisory parameters
  • The optical bandwidth
  • The test temperatures
  • The repeater voltage drop vs current

Chief Operating Officer – Lee Harper said, “The achievement and passing of these events is truly a great moment for the project and our team. For me at least, this moment really marks the beginning of the system becoming real. I look forward to receiving many more acceptance packages and ultimately System Assembly Testing towards the end of the year. Thank you to all the team for the progress made so far”.

Bold Explorer completes deep sea survey

Deep Sea Marine Survey

May 28, 2024

The Bold Explorer has completed the deep-sea survey journey from Perth to Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney.

With over 5,000 nautical miles covered, we’ve been analysing seafloor sediments to determine the best path for the cable and assess seabed stability to prevent future movement or damage. Additionally, we evaluate the marine ecosystem to minimise our environmental impact, developing strategies to protect marine life and comply with regulations.

Our surveys optimise the cable route, reduce costs, and identify risks like underwater seismic activity. Assessing water depths and currents ensures stable cable laying. The data collected informs the cable’s design, ensuring it’s strong and durable. We develop a comprehensive installation plan, selecting the right vessels and equipment. Finally, we determine burial depths and protective measures to safeguard the cable from external threats like fishing activities and anchors.

Inside.bold.explorer

Command centre on board the Bold Explorer.

Grab sampling captured as inshore surveys approach completion.

Garb Sampling Inshore Survey Torquay

May 23, 2024

As we near the completion of the final Inshore Survey off the shores of Torquay, our drone has captured some of the meticulous survey work being conducted. We are employing a variety of surveying methods, including a sub-bottom profiler, multi-beam echo sounder, and grab sampling. We’ve also captured footage of the grab sampling process in Torquay.

In subsea cable surveys, grab sampling involves retrieving sediment samples from the seabed. These samples provide valuable insights into marine conditions, sediment composition, and ecological parameters. This information is crucial for planning our cable route, assessing environmental impact, and maximising the sustainability of the cable deployment.

Our goal is, and always has been, to minimise disturbance to the environment and marine life during the SMAP Cable build.

Then, Now, and for the Future.

History Telecommunications

May 21, 2024

In the spirit of World Telecommunications Day, just past, we wanted to take some time to commemorate how far telecommunications have come in Australia. “Study the past if you would define the future” (Confucius). Long gone are the days of the telegraph, adopted in Australia in the mid-1800s. After World War II, the Post Master General’s Department was appointed to oversee communications throughout Australia, including a large-scale rollout of their copper telecommunications network. Unfortunately, many Australians living in regional and rural areas were often left with poor connection. In 1966, INTELSAT II was launched – providing the first satellite link between Australia and the international telecommunications grid. Around 2005, the Internet started to revolutionise how people share content and connect with each other.

Fast forward to today, we’re living in an interconnected world where high-speed uploads, online browsing, and virtually instant communication are the norm, and as the demand for bandwidth grows exponentially year on year, SMAP has been designed to help bring Australia to the forefront of the digital age.

SUBCO Increases Fibre Capacity on SMAP Cable System

Design Technology

May 16, 2024

Smap.increase.blog

SUBCO is excited to announce it has increased the fibre capacity of the SMAP cable system connecting Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Originally designed as a 12 fibre pair system, SMAP has been upgraded to a 16 fibre pair system providing for an increase of 33% of total system capacity.

SUBCO Co-CEO Bevan Slattery said “This increased investment in capacity is to ensure we are able to support Australia’s digital infrastructure needs both now, and in the future. AI and Cloud are driving the accelerating expansion of hyperscale Data Centres throughout the region, which is driving an increase in demand for hyperscale connectivity. This upgrade will provide for an additional 100Tbps between Melbourne and Perth and 120Tbps between Sydney and Melbourne.