Business on board for link

WESTERN Australian industry is excited at the possibility of an optic fibre cable linking Australia to Singapore.

The laying of such a cable has been mooted by Singapore Telecommunications, which last year bought Australia’s second largest telecommunications company, Optus.

Singtel Optus officials are not committing themselves one way or the other to the cable’s go-ahead, but various industry players predict benefits for Australia and Asia if it proceeds.

According to Uecomm State manager Simon Inglis, the cable would make Australia a part of the global village and allow it to become an inexpensive platform for business in Asia-Pacific region.

He said dual telecommunications systems in Asia were not as advanced as those in Australia, and they were more regulated and offered poorer service levels.

“Here there is the advantage of really, really good infrastructure at a competitive price, which will allow Asian businesses and other businesses – from the UK, for example – to have offices here and work off a pretty low cost base in Australia, but still perform their business tasks very cost-effectively globally,” Mr Inglis said.

The managing director of Internet Business Corporation, Richard Keeves, said the provision of any additional band-width capacity between Australia and other countries was a good thing for business.

“It provides for not only potentially faster links, but also further additional redundancy should any of the existing cables be cut. Additional cabling is always a good thing as long as access to it is priced in a competitive manner,” Mr Keeves said.

He agreed any improvement in electronic infrastructure had the potential to draw foreign investment to Australia, but this was not necessarily a certainty.

“Whether a business makes a decision to locate here on the strength of that is, I think, unlikely,” Mr Keeves said.

“But in terms of the factors that are taken into account during the decision-making pro-cess it’s certainly an important one – the capacity and speed of the telecommunications infra-structure is a real issue, and anything that can expand that can only be good for Australia.”

A spokesman for energy giant Woodside Petroleum said al-though that company had an office in Japan and was focused on developing additional markets in Asia, it was not following closely the possible development of a Singapore-Perth cable.

However, anything that improved communication capabilities between Perth and the rest of the world would be a welcome result, the spokesman said.

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