A newly formed company called Pacific Fibre is seeking funding to build a 5.12Tbps capacity fibre-optic cable connecting Australia, New Zealand and the USA which is planned to be ready for use in 2013. The initial proposal is for a cable which will deliver five times the capacity of the existing Southern Cross system. Pacific Fibre’s aim is to deliver the highest capacity and lowest latency international internet service to Australia and New Zealand by connecting the two countries to the US via 13,000km of cable. The link between New Zealand and the US will be direct, substantially reducing the distance compared to existing cables, thereby delivering lower latency, or lag. The planned cable would also offer potential for branching units to provide connectivity to several Pacific islands.
The proposed cable configuration would be 13,000km long, and have two fibre pairs with 64 wavelengths (lambdas) each at 40Gbps per lambda. The maximum lit capacity would initially be 5.12Tbps, but would be upgradeable to over 12Tbps as emerging 100Gbps technology becomes reality. The newer cable and repeater technology that Pacific Fibre proposes to use will be substantially more easily upgradeable than that of existing cables.
Pacific Fibre is owned by a group of investors including New Zealand businessmen Stephen Tindall, Sam Morgan and Rod Drury, former Vodafone Chief Marketing Officer Mark Rushworth, technology industry veteran John Humphrey, and strategy consultant and entrepreneur Lance Wiggs. Rod Drury commented: ‘We are seeing a growing digital divide between New Zealand and the rest of the world. We need this infrastructure if we are serious about growing international businesses from New Zealand. The introduction of a new cable would drive competition and capacity in the international bandwidth market, building on the success of the Southern Cross cable, which was critical for New Zealand when it was built 10 years ago. This proposed cable would provide internet service providers and large and small businesses with a major boost in capacity and speed, but also give the extra redundancy that another cable provides.’
Pacific Fibre will seek to work alongside existing industry players and also seek to aggregate any existing initiatives into a unified project.