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Government offers to stump up $15M and take anchor tenancy on new international cable

Thursday 19th September 2013

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The government is offering $15 million and to take an anchor tenancy to a new international telecommunications cable if it can handle turbo-charged requirements to handle research and education traffic.

Communications Minister Amy Adams is seeking expressions of interest from companies planning to build a trans-Tasman and trans-Pacific cable to bolster the country's research community's access to the rest of the world. A potential cable would have to be suitable for research, innovation and education, as well as commercial use, she said.

In order to take part in global research projects, our research and education communities need dedicated capacity that can handle huge data volumes, and provide high levels of reliability," Adams said in a statement. "Building a new cable will further increase the resilience of New Zealand's international telecommunications links and also introduce more competition on the route, as well as providing additional capacity."

In 2011, the government offered $15 million to let Research and Education Network New Zealand commit to a supply deal with Pacific Fibre, a failed attempt to build a trans-Pacific cable.

Telecom, Vodafone and Telstra are currently looking into building a trans-Tasman submarine fibre optic cable, while Hawaiki Cable is seeking to build a trans-Pacific line.

The existing South Cross Cable, which is half-owned by Telecom, is expected to meet New Zealand's requirements until the end of the decade, Adams said.

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