Southern Cross Cables has provided an update on its NEXT subsea cable system, with submarine cable construction company SubPartners having completed the landing arrangements in Sydney.
SubPartners concluded work on horizontal directionally drilled bore and arrangements for beach man hole access in Sydney for the third cable, which is expected to provide an additional 60Tbps capacity to the existing 20Tbps on the two current Southern Cross cables.
"Landing arrangements in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States [are] now effectively completed," Southern Cross CEO Anthony Briscoe said.
"Our partnership with SubPartners for the construction of the facilities has allowed us to leverage their expertise in the construction of similar facilities for other projects that they are involved with in the region, helping us to effectively manage cost and risk around this critical aspect of the project."
Asia-Pacific fibre infrastructure company Superloop has also announced signing on to become a direct customer of the Southern Cross cable system.
Superloop, which announced its $2.5 million acquisition of SubPartners in April 2017, said this would replace its previous resale channel arrangement with Southern Cross Cables.
"With Superloop's strong demand growth, and the advent of the forthcoming Southern Cross NEXT system in the next 18 to 24 months, further increasing the resilience of the network, it was timely for Superloop to look into a direct relationship between the Superloop and Southern Cross ecosystems," Australian technology entrepreneur and Superloop founder Bevan Slattery said.
In January, Southern Cross Cables announced that the Pacific islands of Fiji, Tokelau, and Kiribati had all signed contracts to be connected to the 60Tbps NEXT subsea cable stretching between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
At the time, a "major capacity commitment" from Fijian telecommunications provider Fintel, along with agreements by Tokelau telco Teletok and Kiribati government-owned enterprise BwebwerikiNET, were signed.
According to Southern Cross Cables, the $350 million NEXT submarine cable system will provide the lowest latency and fastest connectivity from Fiji, Tokelau, and Kiribati to Australia and the US.
The Southern Cross NEXT cable system is slated to go live in early 2020 after commencing construction at the end of 2017 following the completion of a seafloor survey that discovered a more efficient route.
The cable's new route, which traverses Wallis and Fortuna waters rather than the previously planned Tongan waters, will "deliver the fastest connection between the shores of Australia, New Zealand, and US", Briscoe said in August.
SubPartners is currently also working on the Indigo subsea cable system connecting Sydney, Perth, Singapore, and Jakarta, which is being built alongside Google, Singtel, Telstra, AARNet, Indosat Ooredoo, and Alcatel Submarine Networks and will span around 9,000km, with two fibre pairs and a design capacity of 18Tbps. It is expected to be completed by mid-2019.
Indigo reached a contractually binding status in April last year following Alcatel Submarine Networks entering a system supply agreement, which makes the submarine cable system supply and construction binding for all parties, as well as the process of bringing it into operation.
Telecommunications carriers and consortiums have been racing to build out subsea cable capacity across the Asia-Pacific region, driven by the rapid increase in data usage globally. These cables include the Australian government's Solomon Islands-Papua New Guinea cable being built by Vocus; Vocus' Australia-Singapore Cable (ASC) and North West Cable System (NWCS); Trident; the Asia-Pacific Gateway (APG); the FASTER cable; the Jupiter subsea cable being built by a consortium including Facebook, Amazon, SoftBank, NTT Com, PLDT, and PCCW; the Hawaiki subsea cable; Superloop's Hong Kong cable; Telstra's Hong Kong Americas (HKA) and the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN); and Google's Japan-Guam-Australia (JGA) cable system.