Hawaiki Cable has confirmed it will build a submarine cable linking New Zealand, Australia and the United States.
The new trans-Pacific cable will initially link Australia and New Zealand to mainland United States, as well as Hawaii, with options to expand to several South Pacific Islands. Permitting and initial route planning began in June 2015 and the system is expected to be completed by mid-2018.
The cable will give New Zealand direct connectivity to Australia and the US, also providing an alternative route between Hawaii and Oregon. This route also allows for a diverse and secure route from existing systems, according to Hawaiki.
The company says the 14,000km cable system will deliver more than 30 Tbps of capacity via TE SubCom's C100U+ Submarine Line Terminating Equipment (SLTE) and will allow for optional connectivity to islands along the route, utilising TE SubCom's industry leading optical add/drop multiplexing (OADM) nodes. It will be a privately owned and carrier-neutral cable for the Pacific region, Hawaiki says.
The New Zealand Government has supported the Hawaiki project via the Crown-owned research network company REANNZ. REANNZ has taken a long term anchor tenancy on the cable for its research network including an initial $15 million capital contribution.
“The contract between REANNZ and Hawaiki means REANNZ can lock-in long-term international connectivity arrangements essential for delivering high quality research-grade data services to its research and education members,” says Steven Joyce, Science and Innovation Minister.
Voicing his support for the cable, he says, “Hawaiki's new cable system will provide more international data choice and resilience for Kiwi consumers and business and help progress New Zealand's digital economy.
Amy Adams, Communications Minster, also supports the project, saying the Government's Ultra-Fast and Rural Broadband programmes are already delivering faster connectivity to over one million homes, schools, hospitals and businesses.
“Confirmation of this project provides further assurances to New Zealanders of our growing connections to the world and our place in the global digital economy.
“International connectivity is critical for New Zealanders and the new cable will increase capacity in internet services,” she says.
InternetNZ says the Hawaiki cable is good news for the country's internet.
Jordan Carter, InternetNZ chief executive, says, "On the trans-Pacific route, InternetNZ has long hoped that a commercial solution would be found for additional undersea cable and we are very pleased to see that day has come.
"New Zealand Internet users will benefit from additional connectivity. Over time, the Hawaiki cable should lead to more bandwidth, at cheaper prices, and with more security in supply," says Carter.
Sir Eion Edgar, co-developer of the project, added, “This is the beginning of a new era for New Zealand and the Pacific Islands in terms of international connectivity. We are excited to be at the forefront of this very significant infrastructure investment.
Once built the Hawaiki cable will be the third provider and the fourth physical cable connecting New Zealand to the rest of the world (the others being the two Southern Cross cables and the Tasman Global Access cable).