Telcos join forces for new trans-Tasman cable

Telecom NZ, Vodafone NZ, and Telstra are spending a total of US$60 million to build a submarine cable between Auckland and Sydney.

Telecom NZ, Vodafone NZ, and Telstra have teamed up to co-invest in a new underwater cable between Auckland and Sydney.

Plans for the TGA cable Image: Telecom NZ

All parties have signed a memorandum of understanding, and have named the new cable Tasman Global Access (TGA) for the time being.

"[TGA] will significantly improve New Zealand's international telecommunications connectivity, as well as strengthen links into fast-growing Asian markets," Telecom NZ said in a statement.

The construction of the TGA cable is expected to cost less than US$60 million, much cheaper than what it would have cost to build another, longer trans-Pacific cable. The US$400 million Pacific Fibre project was axed last year after failure to secure funding.

The TGA cable is set to be completed by mid to late 2014.

The cable will include three fibre pairs with a design capacity of 30 terabits per second, which is approximately 300 times the current internet data demand out of New Zealand, according to Telecom NZ.

Traffic between Australia and New Zealand has grown significantly in the past decade, and the TGA cable will make New Zealand a more attractive place for international data servers to be located.

"The TGA cable will also enable New Zealand to better leverage the four additional international cable systems currently serving Australia (with several more proposed or in development), providing important redundancy to New Zealand," Telecom NZ chief executive Simon Moutter and Vodafone NZ CEO Russell Stanners said in a joint statement.

According to Telstra Global managing director Martijn Blanken, the TGA cable will give greater resilience and redundancies for carriers as well as enterprises in Australia that want to have a strong data connection with New Zealand.


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