By Rosemary Bolger, Australia Broadcasting Corporation

Negotiations between the Tasmanian Government and IT company SubPartners to build a third fibre-optic cable connecting Tasmania to the mainland have stalled.

Two years ago the Brisbane based company SubPartners invited the Government to chip in $20 million to tap into the latest arm of its global digital cable network.

The company had intended laying a submarine cable from Perth to Sydney and suggested a spur could be built to connect Tasmania either at Hobart or George Town.

It is part of SubPartner's major plan to build the APX-Central (Perth to Sydney), APX-West (Perth to Singapore) and APX-East (Sydney to US) fibre optic submarine cables.

Technology Minister Michael Ferguson commissioned a consultant to assess the business case for $180,000, but SubPartners never followed through.

“I don't think it's really appropriate to be rushing into these things, when there's not yet a proposal before us,” Mr Ferguson said.

SubPartners has reportedly experienced delays gaining the necessary permits and securing key customers and investors.

“Until such time as an offer is received from SubPartners, the Government does not have clarity on commercial models or what rights that SubPartners and the Government and/or private investors would have in respect of the operation or resale of data capacity on a Tasmanian branch spur,” he said.

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