The nation's largest telco Telstra today said it would build a new submarine fibre telecommunications cable between Australia and Hawaii.
The cable will provide extra capacity for the increasing amount of international Internet traffic required by Australia's growing number of home and business broadband users, according to a statement issued by Telstra this afternoon.
"The [9000km] cable will provide transmission capacity of 1.28 terabit/s to Hawaii, where it will interconnect with other cables providing direct access to mainland USA," the statement said. "Telstra already owns capacity in these important links to mainland USA."
The infrastructure will be built by networking equipment vendor Alcatel-Lucent, which has worked on similar rollouts for Telstra in the past -- such as the telco's Tasmania link.
The initiative continues Telstra's strategy of owning and operating its own infrastructure and reducing its reliance on that belonging to other telcos.
The only other submarine cable directly linking Australia with the US is operated by Southern Cross Cable -- which is jointly owned by Telecom New Zealand (50 percent), SingTel Optus (40 percent) and Verizon (10 percent). That infrastructure was constructed by Alcatel and Fujitsu.
Southern Cross's Web site says its cable currently has 240Gbps capacity, but has the potential to be expanded up to 1 terabit/s.
In the statement, Telstra's chief operating officer Greg Winn said the announcement was "just the first step" in what he described as Telstra's "aggressive international connectivity strategy".
"Owning the infrastructure that provides this vital connection to Australia enables Telstra to deliver additional network capacity and reliability to our wholesale and retail customers, and will maximise returns for shareholders when we re-route traffic from existing routes owned by competitors," Winn added.
Telstra expects to complete the project by mid-2008.