Thursday 30th March 2017
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A new $100 million trans-Tasman underwater cable has been completed, the latest in a drive to boost New Zealand's connectivity with the rest of the world.
Spark New Zealand, Vodafone New Zealand and Telstra pooled their efforts to build the cable in late 2014 and today announced the 2,288-kilometre link between Raglan and Sydney was officially open for business. The Tasman Global Access cable uses two fibre pairs with a capacity of 20 terabits per second and is expected to help meet the explosion in demand that's projected to keep growing.
"The TGA cable represents a big investment in trans-Tasman telecommunications and a huge amount of work has gone into getting it across the line and in service," Spark general manager of wholesale and international Jilyut Wong said in a statement. "The added resilience and diversity is extremely important to keeping New Zealand connected, now and into the future."
The three companies started formally looking into a trans-Tasman cable in early 2013 in what they expected at the time would cost at least US$60 million incorporating three fibre pairs with a capacity of 30 terabits per second. The project details were later refined by December 2014 when they settled on a plan and work on the cable began in March last year and was expected to be completed near the end of 2016, though that was later pushed out.
New Zealand's reliance on the Southern Cross Cable, partially owned by Spark, has come under scrutiny in recent years with at least one aborted attempt to build a rival trans-Pacific link. More recently, Hawaiki Submarine Cable said it is on track to build a new link between New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii and mainland US, with options to include several South Pacific island states by the middle of next year.
Telecommunications Minister Simon Bridges welcomed the investment by Spark, Vodafone and Telstra, saying the government's investment in building a fibre network spurred demand for broadband services and meant increased trans-national links were important infrastructure.
"This cable is another step towards ensuring we’ve got affordable and robust connections with the rest of the world," Bridges said. "It also ensures that domestic demands for data are supported by international capacity, setting us up for the future."
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