Southern Cross Cable locks in large customers

With a challenge to its international cable monopoly looming, Southern Cross Cable has extended the contracts with its largest customers.

With competition looming, Southern Cross Cable has extended contracts with its seven largest customers through to 2030, it said on Wednesday.

Southern Cross Cable CEO Anthony Briscoe said consultations with technical experts and cable supplier Alcatel allowed it to reassure customers that the cable would be fully functional until that time.

Hawaiki Cable is poised to challenge Southern Cross.

The cable, owned by Spark — formerly Telecom NZ — SingTel Optus, and Verizon is the only significant fibre link between New Zealand and the rest of the world. However, a series of ventures over the last decade have attempted to create an alternative.

The most recent of these is Hawaiki Cable, which has inked anchor tenancy agreements with internet service providers Orcon and Voyager, as well as a conditional NZ$65 million agreement with Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand.

Hawaiki has also finalised is landing points for a new cable in Sydney, Australia, Whangarei in New Zealand, Pacific City in Oregon, US, and O'ahu in Hawaii, and is now negotiating permitting for these.

If it proceeds, Hawaiki's cable is expected to come online in 2016.

Briscoe said Southern Cross had increased its cable's capacity from 160Gbps in 2001 to 6500Gbps today, and is planning further upgrades.