Australia’s NBN Threatens to Build Its Own Cable to the USA

September 27th, 2012 by · Leave a Comment

According to Commsday this morning, the Australian communications minister Steven Conroy recently said that if prices don’t come down the NBN will build its own cable to the US. The $40B NBN project certainly has the firepower to build a cable if it wants to, but their current project list is surely long enough to keep them busy for a long time without adding a submarine cable project to the bottom as well.

With the collapse of the Pacific Fibre plans for a New Zealand to California link, some of the forces behind it are clearly looking for a new vehicle.  With big plans for their domestic FTTH networks down under, there is a desire at the policy level for a big bandwidth alternative to Southern Cross with direct connectivity to the US in the long term.   That being said, if Conroy really meant it he wouldn’t be talking — he’d be putting together a consortium right now.

But prices for bandwidth between the US and Australia have come down sharply of late due to other Pacific cable capacity increases, which is a big part of why Pacific Fibre couldn’t get funding.  Whether that recent trend will hold up going forward is another matter, but for now the business case for a new cable between Australia and the US is hard to make.  Not that such trivialities are slowing down grand submarine plans elsewhere these days…

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Categories: Undersea cables

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