The Government has earmarked $15 million for an international
internet cable between New Zealand, Australia and the United
As well as the $15m contribution, the Government would also
commit to being an anchor customer on a new cable fit for
research or education purposes, Communications and
Information Technology Minister Amy Adams said.
Ms Adams is calling for expressions of interest from
companies considering building a cable, she said in a
The cable would need to meet requirements of education and
research communities, as well as commercial traffic.
"To ensure we have sufficient international capacity in the
medium to long term, the Government is making a $15 million
contribution available, and would commit to an anchor tenancy
on a new cable for research and education purposes,'' she
"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
"International, collaborative projects are characterised by
intermittent, high-throughput, multi-terabit data flows that
may last for days.
"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,'' Ms Adams said.
This is a shift in tone from when Pacific Fibre abandoned
plans for its cable to the US last year because of funding
issues. At that time Economic
Development Minister Steven Joyce said there was no issue
with capacity on the Southern Cross cable.
Pacific Fibre - backed by Facebook billionaire Peter Thiel,
Trade Me Founder Sam Morgan and Xero's Rod Drury _ hoped to
rival the Southern Cross
Cable Networks' pipe, which is the only link transporting
internet traffic in and out of New Zealand. The second cable
would bring competition to the market and bring down the
price of international internet capacity, Pacific Fibre
While Pacific Fibre no longer has a pipe in the works,
another company - Hawaiki - is planning one.
The Auckland-based company is planning to build a 14-000km
cable system between New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii and the
US west coast, and said earlier this year that the project
could be operating within two years.
TPG Telecom, an ASX-listed IT and internet company, has
issued a letter of intent saying it plans to acquire fibre
capacity on the Australia-US leg of Hawaiki's proposed cable
The main cable would also have branches running to Norfolk
Island, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Wallis, Samoa and
Ms Adams said Southern Cross is expected to meet New
Zealand's capacity needs until 2020.
- by Hamish Fletcher of The New Zealand Herald