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Hawaiki goes live - brings diversity and capacity to market

Paul Brislen, Editor. 23 July 2018, 7:01 am

After a decade of talks, planning, setbacks and struggle, the Hawaiki Cable has finally launched and is ready to provide connectivity between New Zealand and the north American continent.

Most of New Zealand's internet traffic is carried on the Southern Cross Cables network, a figure-of-eight network that connects New Zealand with Sydney to the west and the US to the north east, but having only one provider has meant New Zealand missed out on being considered as a suitable host for any large-scale data service for the region.

The creation of a trans-Tasman cable (the $100 million Tasman Global Access (TGA) cable, co-owned by Vodafone, Telstra and Spark, which also is the majority owner of Southern Cross Cables) had added capacity but not yet offered commercial competition to the international leg.

Now, however, Hawaiki will provide the country a new player with, potentially, a new pricing dynamic. 

The 15,000km long cable was built at a cost of around $445 million and already has customers on board - Vodafone will use the cable as its primary conduit to the US, relegating the Southern Cross Cable to a subsidiary role as back-up. 

The new cable will soon be joined by a replacement for the Southern Cross Cable, which has been New Zealand's mainstay connection since its launch in 2000. The Southern Cross Network has a capacity of around 12 Tbit/s (terabits per second) - Hawaiki offers 43 Tbit/s and TGA offers 20 Tbit/s on its trans-Tasman route.

The Southern Cross Next network is expected to go live early in 2019 and will carry 60 Tbit/s.

Finally, New Zealand will have capacity and should have enough route diversity to weather any potential disruption from underwater volcanos, earthquakes or even the odd rogue fishing boat.


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