Pacific Fibre seeks submarine cable vendor; Pacnet no longer involved with project

7 Apr 2011

Pacific Fibre has confirmed that its ‘Invitation To Tender’ for the Pacific Fibre Cable System has been distributed to ‘established leaders in the submarine cable system supply industry’. The 13,600km cable, which was first mooted in July 2010, will land in Sydney, Auckland and Los Angeles, and offer the most direct route between these landing points. Further, the 5.12Tbps two-pair fibre system will offer roughly five times the capacity of the existing Southern Cross Cable Network, which holds a near monopoly over communications traffic to and from New Zealand. Vendor responses are due in mid-May, with contract negotiations expected to commence soon after. The total cost of the new cable is estimated at USD400 million.

However, Pacific Fibre CEO Mark Rushworth has confirmed that Pacific Fibre will be building the cable alone, following the expiration of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Hong Kong-based Pacnet. The cable was expected to be built on a partnership model that allowed Pacnet and Pacific Fibre to each own and operate a fibre pair on the cable system, whilst sharing responsibility for operations and maintenance costs. Rushworth commented: ‘A joint-build MoU expired earlier this year, freeing us to move ahead more quickly. We have been assuming a solo-build system for several months now and remain firmly on track to finance and deliver the system in 2013. Our proposed design greatly expands capacity for carriers and multi-national businesses, and provides much needed diversity for the region’.

New Zealand, Pacnet