The life expectancy of the Southern Cross Cable system, which connects New Zealand, Australia and the United States has been extended by five years to 2025, the company has announced. The 28,500km-long cable, which is half-owned by Telecom New Zealand, is reportedly in good shape, and the firm has suggested that its working life may even be extended further, although it will closely monitor any potential network upgrades, and the need for replacement cables. Southern Cross customers, which include all major telecommunications companies and internet providers, had sought assurances that they would still be able to use the cable when their initial contracts expire in 2020. Southern Cross Cable also moved to reassure its customers that Australia’s plans to lay fibre to 93% of homes, and the New Zealand government’s Ultra-Fast Broadband initiative would not affect the cable’s capacity. Southern Cross explain that each leg of the cable currently only uses a fraction of its data capacity: 0.7Tbps out of a possible 4.8Tbps.
Sales director Ross Pfeffer commented: ‘This initiative to supply long term cost effective capacity on the protected Southern Cross Network has been welcomed by our customers. So instead of ten years, customers will now be able to enjoy 15 years of value from their existing and new contracts’. The Southern Cross Cable, which cost USD1.3 billion to construct, first entered service in November 2000, and has subsequently provided Australia and New Zealand with a secure backbone for broadband and other communications services. Start-up venture Pacific Fibre and state-owned enterprise Kordia are currently pursuing plans to lay competing cables.