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Dotcom calls for Pacific Fibre 'reboot'

Kim Dotcom has said that the launch of his new file-sharing service, Mega, could "reboot" the failed Pacific Fibre subsea cable project.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

New Zealand-based Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has put the challenge to Pacific Fibre Chairman Sam Morgan and Director Rod Drury to bring back plans to run a subsea cable between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, funded by his new file-sharing site Mega.


Where the proposed cable would have run.
(Credit: Pacific Fibre)

Dotcom tweeted to the pair yesterday, suggesting to meet to discuss the failed cable project. In August, Morgan announced that the planned 12.8 terabits per second cable would not go ahead after more than two years of planning, because Pacific Fibre had failed to raise the NZ$400 million in investment required to install the 13,000km cable between Sydney, Auckland, and Los Angeles.

After announcing his intentions for new file-sharing site Mega to replace his original site, Megaupload, which was brought down by US authorities for copyright infringement in January, Dotcom said that New Zealand needs Pacific Fibre.

"I think it is important to reboot efforts to make it happen," he tweeted.

Drury responded, stating that he admired Dotcom's proposal, but that permission would be needed to connect to the United States. US authorities are unlikely to welcome any proposal from Dotcom while he is due to front extradition hearings in March next year. He will face charges of racketeering, copyright infringement, and money laundering in the United States, where he could face up to 20 years in jail.

Dotcom has reportedly said that Mega would fund the subsea cable project, and once in place, access to the cable would be free to New Zealand ISPs, meaning cheaper internet for NZ residents.

"Because ISPs control the last mile and provide equipment like routers, they would still charge a fee, but it could be as low as 15 percent to 20 percent of current bandwidth plans, with three to five times faster connection speeds, and without transfer limits," he reportedly said.

Opposition IT spokesperson Clare Curran said that the idea was worthy of further analysis.

"The sentiment is right. Kiwi businesses, particularly in the technology sector, have been calling for a second cable for some time now. Their concerns need to be taken seriously," she said in a statement.

Curran said that low uptake of the New Zealand Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) project could be partially blamed on a lack of international capacity.

"The government's much-vaunted ultrafast broadband scheme is in strife because people are not connecting in the numbers it had hoped. But they're not connecting because there's nothing to connect to."

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