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Tasman Global Access cable goes live

Paul Brislen, Editor. 30 March 2017, 10:08 am

Hold your breath no longer - New Zealand now has a new submarine cable that doesn't land on top of an active volcanic field.

The Tasman Global Access cable (owned by Spark, Vodafone and Telstra) connects New Zealand with Australia and unlike the Southern Cross Cable, which lands in Auckland, this one connects to Ngarnui Beach in Raglan.

The $100 million project can carry up to 20 terabits (Tbit/s) along its two fibre pairs and is designed to soak up some of the international bandwidth needs of New Zealand customers, which has grown dramatically since the Ultra Fast Broadband fibre network was launched.

In a statement, Vodafone's wholesale director Steve Rieger says New Zealand's international capacity requirements are expected to balloon in the next decade.

"As an industry we've seen tremendous growth in trans-Tasman internet traffic with New Zealand's  international capacity requirements growing 60% year on year and projected 11,000% growth over the next ten years."

The TGA adds its capacity to the existing Southern Cross Cables Network which carries around 20Tbit/s of capacity between New Zealand, Australia and the US mainland.

The SCCN lands both halves of its looped network on either side of the Auckland landmass. Concerns have been raised that the Auckland volcanic field, which is still classed as active, is possibly not the ideal landing point for the vast bulk of our international connectivity and that route diversity would be desirable.

More cables are expected to be built in the next few years. With the Southern Cross network reaching its end of life phase (it was initially lit up in 2000), the SCCN consortium is building a replacement -  Southern Cross NEXT, which is due to go live in 2019 and will connect New Zealand to Australia and the US but provide an estimated 60Tbit/s.

And the long mooted Hawaiki Cable remains on the cards for completion in mid 2018. Initially designed to connect New Zealand to Australia and Hawaii, the planned route has been extended to reach Oregon on the US mainland and to include American Samoa as well.

The Hawaiki Cable boasts a design capacity of 42Tbit/s and will be the only cable that runs independently of a New Zealand or Australian telco's ownership.


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Grant Collingwood 10 May 2017, 4:50 pm

Not seeing any improvement with video delivered from Australia. Lightbox keeps stopping and starting, and this just started happening recently.

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