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Chinese trans-Tasman telecommunications cable likely to be in place in 2013

Wednesday 21st September 2011

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A new trans-Tasman telecommunications cable is expected to be in place in less than two years, though its capacity will probably be smaller than the existing Southern Cross Cable and the prospective Pacific Fibre cable.

Axin, the Australasian agent and representative of China Communications Service Corp., wants to build a 2,300 kilometre cable between Auckland and Sydney, and has tapped Huawei Marine Networks to help build the link. The project is estimated to cost a reported US$100 million.

Huawei Marine market director Salon Ma told BusinessDesk the project is expected to be completed in early 2013, beating out newcomer Pacific Fibre, and will adopt 40 gigabits per second equipment to achieve 3.2 terrabits per second per fibre pair.

That will bring it in line with Southern Cross Cable’s existing technology, which is planned to be upgraded to 40Gbps next year. Southern Cross will further improve its system to 100 Gbps equipment by 2015, taking network potential to 6 Tbps.

The start-date will get a jump on Pacific Fibre which expects to start service in 2014. The local company last month signed mobile operator Vodafone New Zealand into a 10-year deal, having previously secured Australian internet provider iiNet and government education network operator Research and Education Network New Zealand.

The New Zealand venture, which is backed by heavyweight entrepreneurs Sam Morgan, Stephen Tindall, Rod Drury and Peter Thiel, appointed America’s TE Connectivity to build the trans-Pacific network, which had previously been given a US$400 million price-tag.

Pacific Fibre says its network will have ultimate capacity of 12.8 Tbps.


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