Government backing cable

The Government has earmarked $15 million towards a second international internet cable between New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

As well as making the $15 million 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 was calling for expressions of interest from companies considering building a cable, she said in a statement yesterday.

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 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 ... ''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,'' she said.

The Crown had also committed a $15 million grant to Pacific Fibre, the abandoned cable project which was backed by Facebook billionaire Peter Thiel, Trade Me Founder Sam Morgan and Xero's Rod Drury.

Pacific Fibre 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 the price of international internet capacity down, Pacific Fibre argued.

Pacific Fibre announced in August last year that the project would not go ahead.

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