Back in March, a group of investors down in New Zealand started Pacific Fibre, a planned direct link from the country to North America. There was some skepticism that the effort would get off the ground, but they now have some new backing. Pacnet, the regional undersea cable operator, has signed on to the team.
The price tag seems to have come down more than a little, now estimated at $400M. The cable will connect Sydney, Auckland and Los Angeles, and will cover some 13,600 miles. The initial design capacity of 5.12Tbps will be expandable to 12Tbps with 100G technology, though I think it will be a while before they get 100G on a transpacific route. Low latency is, as usual, a key feature of the new fiber build.
Pacnet's objective here is probably to achieve another independent transpacific route to go along with its strands on the Unity cable, this time hooking up its markets down under of course. And, indeed, the partnership will be done similarly to Unity, with Pacnet getting its own fiber to operate in parallel.
The next step will be to find a vendor to build it.