Pacific Fibre Planning New US/NZ/AU Cable

March 11th, 2010 by · 13 Comments

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?

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Categories: Undersea cables

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13 Comments So Far


  • fluids_only says:

    Why don’t they just build to Guam and connect up with other systems from there? Would be a tad cheaper!

    • Rob Powell says:

      Perhaps they will do that too. This cable doesn’t contain a physically diverse loop, at least not on the map they’re working with.

  • Anon says:

    Pipe PPC1 already covers that route.

  • fluids_only says:

    Anon – PPCI is a single strand from Australia to Guam. I am talking about an NZ-Guam system: throw in connectivity to Australia and you have a protected ring to Guam.

    • Anon says:

      Pretty much all cable systems are built nowadays as single strand, since carriers prefer to manage restoration themselves rather than relying on ring protection. If you want diversity to Guam, AJC is available and pricing has improved considerably lately given the arrival of Pipe.

      I must say I’d be surprised to see this AU – NZ – US cable ever see the light of day.

      The much more interesting route to me is Perth – Singapore. I hear rumours that Matrix or someone else may extend from Indonesia, that would be great. It’s not so much needed for Internet traffic, but it’s sorely needed for corporate data.

      • Anon says:

        Also considering PPC-2 (if it turns up) covers NZ anyway.

      • Frank says:

        Their web site does show a Pert to Singapore link – but that was in dotted lines, so it is not clear to me whether/if this is a planned future extension.

      • fluids_only says:

        Yes that’s badly needed, all that’s there at the moment is SWM-3 which by now is a very old system. There was a company called, I think, Ochre(?) trying to build one a while back. But apart from mining, there’s not much going on in Western Australia, about 1 million or so people.

        • Anon says:

          Yes, but there’s now quite a lot of trans-Australia capacity so getting to Perth is not the issue it once was. The other option is to upgrade JASAURUS/APCN-A, but only Optus and Telstra have backhaul to Port Headland and they charge like a wounded bull for it.

  • Frank says:

    There are trying to play the low-latency game – with a direct route that is shorter than Southern Cross. And they are not trying to build a protected ring – as you will recall the new Unity cable arranged by Google is a straight line route, not a ring structure. The question is whether there is sufficient demand given the recent upgrade by SX to 4.8 Tbits (done in 2008).

  • fluids_only says:

    Yeah but Unity already has plenty of other single strands on the Japan-US route and it’s a major traffic route. How do you justify a 900m cable from New Zealand. The AUS-NZ-US route isn’t that busy. You already have Southern Cross, AJC and now PIP for the US-bound route. Admittedly it’s incredibly expensive but that’s because Australia and New Zealand have a combined population of 30 million and are one stop away from Antarctica in terms of proximity to the rest of the world. I can’t see this being built as it stands: it will need a shortened route or some government/incumbent investors.

    • Anon says:

      I don’t expect this to turn up either. Also remember Telstra’s Endeavour cable, although they seem to only use this for their own requirements, they don’t seem to sell it.

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