Nextgen flags Perth-Jakarta missing link

Nextgen Networks will in the coming weeks gauge the international carrier market's response to a proposed Perth to Jakarta, Indonesia undersea fibre-optic cable, which would provide a new link between Sydney and Singapore.

Nextgen Networks will in the coming weeks gauge the international carrier market's response to a proposed Perth to Jakarta, Indonesia undersea fibre-optic cable, which would provide a new link between Sydney and Singapore.

The recent winner of the government's $250 million backhaul deal has teamed up with Singaporean company Matrix Networks and Indonesian company PT NAP Info Lintas Nusa to propose the new cable that would connect Singapore and Sydney via a new link between Perth and Jakarta.

Nextgen itself already operates a cable that connects Perth and Brisbane, which runs through Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney along the way. Matrix and PT NAP meanwhile have existing links between Jakarta and Singapore, while the proposed new cable, covering a distance of 8000 kilometres, would connect Perth to Jakarta, thereby connecting Singapore to Sydney.

The proposal has been announced in time for an upcoming telecoms conference to be held in Hawaii, run by the Pacific Telecom Council, where Nextgen will pitch the idea to prospective carrier customers.

Unlike Pipe Network's PPC-1 Sydney to Guam cable, which was credited with driving down international carriage costs between the US and Australia, Nextgen's new cable is being developed in response to perceived customer demand for a so-called "global mesh network" from the international carrier space.

"There is significant demand to introduce a new open access cable system between Singapore and Sydney, supporting a strong business case for board approval," Jim Schweigert, executive vice president of Matrix Networks said in a statement.

If Nextgen can secure early agreements with carriers, it predicts its cable with an initial design capacity of 2.56Tbps could be ready by November 2011. The proposal has yet to be approved by the board of its owner, construction giant Leighton Holdings; however, the company appears confident there is a case for its approval.

"Based on what we have in place to date, the business case looks sound while our preliminary discussions with the market have exceeded expectations," Peter McGrath, executive general manager of Leighton Contractors telecommunications division, said in a statement. Nextgen did not disclose expected costs.