According to the New Zealand Business Review, the recently announced Haiwaki Cable project, which seeks to deploy a submarine cable link between Auckland and Sydney and Hawaii via numerous Pacific Islands, is in fact a re-tooled version of the mothballed South Pacific Island Network (SPIN) which was first mooted in 2007 and expected to launch back in 2010. Mark Rushworth, co-founder of the aborted Pacific Fibre cable venture, whose failure to secure funding opened the door for Hawaiki to enter the fray, told the NBR: ‘It is the same team from SPIN, but a different name. The CEO has been trying to connect the islands for the last seven years’.
The man in question is Remi Galasso, a former Alcatel-Lucent executive who founded Noumea-based telecoms infrastructure company Intelia in 2005; the firm designs and implements both wired and wireless networks and backhaul, and designs and builds IT systems. The website indicates that SPIN made a public push during 2009, and numbered the French government among its investors. However, it says the cable was never laid and SPIN ‘quietly faded from the scene’. Not only does Hawaiki’s proposed cable closely trace the path of the failed SPIN, but the new project also features a number of the company’s veterans in its ranks.
As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate earlier this week, a number of Polynesian island nations have expressed an interest in connecting to Hawaiki via one of a number of branches, following extensive discussions at last month’s Polynesian Leaders’ Group meeting. The new cable has a design capacity of 8Tbps and is expected to connect to the likes of Norfolk Island, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Wallis and Futuna, Samoa and American Samoa, with additional links to the Cook Islands and Tahiti in French Polynesia mooted.