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Pacific cable deal to link New Zealand and Hawaii

Spanish firm Amper contracts Alcatel Lucent for new cable to connect Pacific Islands.
Written by Rob O'Neill, Contributor

A new Pacific cable is finally coming to New Zealand.

Bluesky Pacific Group, a subsidiary of Spain's Amper SA, has contracted Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks to lay the cable between New Zealand and Hawaii by 2018.

Called the Moana Cable, the system will span more than 9,700 km, touching down at and also service the Cook Islands and Samoa, providing capacity and redundancy in the region, Alcatel-Lucent announced.

Several plans have come and gone to lay a new cable to serve New Zealand, which currently relies heavily on the Southern Cross network, owned by Spark, Verizon and SingTel.

The plug was pulled on one plan, backed by Australia's TPG and New Zealand's Kordia, in 2010 and on another by Pacific Fibre in 2012.

Where Amper's plan leaves another current cable project, that of Hawaiki Cable, is unclear.

The first segment, based on two fiber pairs, will connect New Zealand to Hawaii over 8,000 km, serving Samoa and American Samoa. The second segment, based on one fiber pair, will link the Cook Islands to the Samoa hub over 1,700 km.

The cable is also designed to accommodate connecting Niue, Tokelau and Tonga in future.

Alcatel-Lucent said it will be the first long-haul submarine cable in the Pacific islands region using 200 Gbit/s transmission technology, with ultimate capacity between Hawaii and New Zealand of 20 Terabits-per-second (Tb/s).

Bluesky Pacific Group owns and operates the ASH Cable connecting American Samoa to Hawaii and the SAS Cable connecting Samoa to American Samoa.

Anchor customers of the Moana Cable include Bluesky Pacific Group companies and existing ASH Cable customers.

Alcatel Lucent will be responsible for the project from system design to installation and commissioning, as well as marine operations including cable laying and maintenance.

Meanwhile, Nokia shareholders have voted to support that company's takeover of rival Alcatel-Lucent.

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