What’s lurking below the beach?
THERE I was at the Maroochydore surf club bistro munching on a battered flathead ($29, with chips and salad) totally unaware an information superhighway was running under my feet.
A fibre optic cable buried under the sand pops up not far away in a $6m "cable landing station" at the new Maroochydore city centre, a stunning Sunshine Coast Council project now under construction on 53ha greenfield site.
Mayor Mark Jamieson says the new Maroochy CBD will be an epicentre of commerce, technology, innovation, entertainment - and inner-city living.
And that's where the cable comes in. It will help make the Sunshine Coast a digital trade hub for data and telecommunications, providing direct international connectivity for governments and corporates.
Jamieson said the 550 km cable to Maroochy was a branch line to a longer, 7000 km cable linking the Sunshine Coast to Japan, Guam, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Sydney.
These cables are used by everyone from defence departments to Amazon, and carry everything from your voice to text messages, data, and movie downloads.
Jamieson said the Maroochy link was the fastest international connection point from the East coast of Australia to Asia. It would attract investment to the region.
The cable has also helped take Jamieson's tech savvy town to the finals of Top7 Global Intelligent Community awards.
Judging is underway. The contest is run by the New York-based Intelligent Community Forum.
The council did not let the coronavirus pandemic hinder its chances. It's just completed a series of videos designed to take the international judging panel on a virtual tour of the town.
Nice, I'm sure, but I doubt if it's as good as fish and chips and a stroll along the sand.
Originally published as What's lurking below the beach?