Major Project Status for $1.5 Billion High-Speed Fibre Network in Northern Territory

Major Project Status for $1.5 Billion High-Speed Fibre Network in Northern Territory
The Northern Territory town of Tennant Creek, population 3,000. (Photo by Ross Land/Getty Images)
Steve Milne

Australia's Northern Territory Government has granted Major Project Status to the $1.5 billion (US$1.08 billion) HyperOne high-speed fibre network, which will directly link Darwin to every capital city in Australia.

According to a media release on Wednesday, the terrestrial fibre network will boast the capacity to carry 10,000 terabits of data per second, more traffic than all other national telecommunications backbones combined, thereby providing a generational upgrade to the NT's core digital infrastructure.

Australia’s existing backbone is around 2o years old and lacks the capacity to support significant growth.

The HyperOne project will see 20,000 kilometres (12,427 miles) of new high-speed fibre cable laid across Australia, with 2,200 kilometres (1,367 miles) installed in the Territory, creating around 10,000 jobs nationally and 1,000 in the NT.

HyperOne Founder Bevan Slattery said that with more than 500 million people within 50 milliseconds of Darwin, the project will transform the Territory economy and make Darwin the digital hub of Northern Australia.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner agreed, saying that HyperOne could turn Darwin into a global gateway to Australia and Asia, and will open up new job possibilities, business opportunities, and digital capabilities for Territorians.

“Major Project Status recognises the significance of a project and the positive impact it will have on the Territory’s economy—creating jobs, enhancing services and boosting investment opportunities – and HyperOne does just that," he said.

The fibre optic cable will most likely follow the Stuart and Barkly Highways, connecting the regional centres of Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine, as well as providing opportunities for remote communities on either side of the highways to connect to the network.

This will allow many communities to access high-speed fibre for the first time.

Slattery said that HyperOne isn't only about connecting capital cities, but also connecting the regions.

"We're putting as much network in the off-ramps and the townships that we're going," he said.

"Any town that we're going past with more than a hundred people, we're going to make an access point available."

Slattery said that HyperOne representatives will be going out into regions, sharing where the network will be running. and then asking communities where they think access points should be installed.

"And that's really important because one of the complaints we often hear when we travel around regional Australia is ...' We can't get access to fibre, even though there's fibre going right underneath our driveway at the front of our house'," he said.

HyperOne will be delivered in stages, with stage one consisting of the Adelaide to Darwin leg, along with the Sydney-Melbourne-Adelaide-Perth leg.

Works on HyperOne in the Territory are expected to start in the first quarter of 2022.

Steve is an Australian reporter based in Sydney covering sport, the arts, and politics. He is an experienced English teacher, qualified nutritionist, sports enthusiast, and amateur musician. Contact him at