A group of New Zealand investors are putting together an effort to build another cable in the Pacific, this one connecting the US directly to New Zealand and Australia, similar to the current Southern Cross cable. New Zealand is preparing a high speed domestic fiber network effort, and a big part of that is having enough diverse international connectivity to feed it. However their geographical position often limits their connectivity options unless they take the problem on themselves, which is precisely what they are doing of course.
Unlike Southern Cross which lands in Hawaii, this new cable would be direct to the US mainland and therefore have reduced latency, covering a distance of 13,000km. There will of course be the potential for spurs to islands along the path. There will be two fiber pairs, and the maximum lit capacity will initially be 5.12Tbps, though with advancing technology that will probably increase. The target date for the cable to go live is in 2013, so things are still at an early stage. The price tag is apparently in the NZ$900M range, or US$628.
With the internet growing so quickly down in South America and the US losing its dominance as a hub where every bit must pass through, one wonders when we will see a South Pacific cable come into play. New Zealand to Santiago someday?