Internet speeds in the Northern Territory will be multiple times quicker, says the Labor Government after it struck an $18 million deal to upgrade fibre-optic cables.

The Territory’s existing fibre-optic cable network would increase from 400 gigabits to 20 terabits in what Chief Minister Michael Gunner said was a “once-in-a-generation infrastructure upgrade”.

The Territory Government will invest $7.9 million in a joint project with Australian telecommunications company Vocus, who will invest $10 million.

The improvements would bring the NT in line with telecommunications infrastructure Australia-wide, meaning it would no longer be a laggard in digital technology, Mr Gunner said at an annual Year Ahead speech in Darwin.

A “massive increase” in the volume and speed of digital services would mean faster internet speeds, attract new businesses and private investment in data centres – a new industry for the Territory, he said.

Vocus is building a fibre-optic cable connecting Darwin to Singapore and undersea fibre optic cable to the Tiwi Islands.