The North-West Cable System

Connecting Australia’s resources sector with bandwidth and reliability

The North-West Cable System (NWCS) is a built-for-purpose, world-class asset and a key part of one of Australia’s largest nationwide fibre optic networks.

NWCS provides Australia’s resources sector with the connectivity, bandwidth, and reliability required to connect the country’s remote northern and western regions, along with offshore oil and gas facilities, to on-shore locations.  

The North-West Cable System is a unique cooperation between the telecommunications and oil & gas industries to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.

The NWCS is the only combined subsea telecommunications network and resources industry cable in Australia. Other major features include: 

  • 2,000km fibre between Port Hedland, Western Australia, and Darwin, Northern Territory
  • 2-fibre pair with 12Tbps combined capacity cable 
  • Terrestrial optical fibre connectivity  
  • An alternative solution to satellite connectivity with greater speeds and superior reliability, particularly evident during adverse weather conditions 

The Project

Leveraging our capabilities in terrestrial fibre optics and world class national fibre backbone network, combined with Alcatel-Lucents subsea expertise, we were able to provide a solution that exceeded the expectations of the oil & gas industry through provision of a highly robust, fully diverse fibre optic communications service.

Announced in May 2014 and completed in 2016, the project consisted of three phases: the design phase, manufacture, and deployment of the 2000km undersea cable and branching units. 

The cable system connects to the INPEX Icthys and Shell Prelude platforms. Branching units were deployed for additional oil and gas platforms in the region.

  • The NWCS build commenced in late 2014 and was completed in September 2016
  • The build and customer connections were delivered on time and on budget
  • It is a 2 fibre pair, 12TB combined capacity cable
  • NWCS is the only combined telecommunications network and resources industry cable in Australia
  • NCWS will connect the Pilbara region which has 44,000 employees and an export in excess or $47b AUD annually, making it key for economic growth in Australia
  • As a data network, the NWCS will enable increased economic growth across Australia’s northwest, and nationally – benefiting business and the wider community