Earlier this Spring, the Hawaiki cable project announced its contract with TE Subcom had come into force. They had raised the necessary funds to kick off the construction phase, and yesterday we learned where some of those funds came from. Amazon's AWS division has stepped up for a large chunk of capacity on the system, becoming a high profile anchor customer on a submarine cable system for the first time.
The Hawaiki cable is the latest project aimed at hooking up Australia and New Zealand directly with the west coast of the USA, stopping in Hawaii and branching off to American Samoa with options to reach several more. It's a route dominated today by the longstanding Southern Cross cable system, and one on which we have seen several failed attempts to build an alternative - especially by partisans on the New Zealand side. This is the first time the money has finally added up though. As currently planned, the cable will stretch 14,000km and deliver as much as 30Tbps of capacity.
Amazon AWS joins Vodafone, REANZ, and American Samoa Telecom as anchor customers. It's Amazon's first foray into the world of submarine cable systems, but surely not its last. The cloud giant is merely joining its tech brethren like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft in taking an active role in the underlying infrastructure they all depend on, taking up some of the slack as global telecommunications operators themselves continue to shy away from undersea investments in favor of wireless and terrestrial fiber.