Today in the South Pacific, New Zealand based Pacific Fibre took another step toward making its goal of a new submarine cable connecting the country directly with the west coast of the USA as well as over to Australia. They have released their 'Invitation to Tender' to selected submarine cable supply companies, which I assume would include folks like Tycom, Fujitsu, and Alcatel-Lucent. Responses are due in mid-May after which they hope to move on to negotiations with a preferred vendor and eventual delivery of the system in 2013.
Pacific Fibre also confirmed what I had heard last fall: that Pacnet had dropped out of the project, and the Kiwis will be moving ahead alone. When it was announced, there was considerable doubt from some quarters that this cable would ever see the light of day. But it's not over yet. According to CEO Mark Rushworth:
A joint build Memorandum of Understanding expired earlier this year, freeing us to move ahead more quickly. We have been assuming a solo-build system for several months now and remain firmly on track to finance and deliver the system in 2013.
When complete, the cable as currently envisioned would consist of two fibre pairs with a design capacity of 5.12Tbps and newly built landing stations in each country. The map seems to have been modified since last year, with a landing in Wellington missing, with a jog around Samoa inserted though I can't tell if it lands there.
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