Southern Cross Cables trials 100Gbps transmission equipment

16 Jun 2011

Southern Cross Cables, the only international submarine cable system currently serving New Zealand, has announced that it has completed a successful trial of 100Gbps prototype transmission equipment, admitting that the technology will not actually be available to customers until 2013 at the earliest. Described by the company as a ‘significant technical breakthrough’, the evolution was demonstrated during extensive testing of the latest 40Gbps upgrade, which is expected to be implemented during 2012. Southern Cross currently uses 10Gbps transmission equipment.

Ross Pfeffer, Southern Cross sales and marketing director, commented: ‘Southern Cross continues to invest and build ahead of demand, to support new innovation and broadband growth. It is very pleasing to see 100Gbps equipment operating some two years earlier than previously expected. While it is unlikely that we will be able use the 100Gbps equipment for next year’s upgrade, it is going to be an option much sooner than we previously thought and the potential size of our network will keep growing in huge leaps. It is a feature of our network that we can readily replace land based transmission systems with equipment that provides continuing improvements in performance. Our 2012 upgrade which will be our fifth, is likely to be based on 40Gbps equipment which will take our total network potential to at least 6Tbps, some 25 times higher than the original design capability of just 240Gbps in 2000. We are very committed to supporting Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) and New Zealand’s Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) initiatives to build fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and increase the access speed of internet subscribers. I expect that opportunity will arise again in 2015 when there is a strong likelihood that 100Gbps transmission equipment will already be deployed and the commercial life of the Southern Cross Network will be able to be extended beyond 2025’.

The 28,500km twin cable, which has six fibres and 500 repeaters, was constructed at a cost exceeding USD1.4 billion, and launched in November 2000, going on to offer unchallenged international backhaul for over a decade. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, a rival cable system being developed by Pacific Fibre is expected to be operational in 2013 at a cost of USD400 million. First mooted in March 2010, the 13,600km cable Pacific Fibre Cable System 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.

New Zealand