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From Singapore to LA via Invercargill - Hawaiki's new subsea cable

Peter Griffin, Editor. 04 November 2021, 10:57 am

Cable consortium Hawaiki has confirmed its plans for a second cable, one that will span 22,000km connecting New Zealand to the US, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Hawaiki Nui cable will feature spurs into Invercargill, Dunedin and Christchurch, the first international subsea cable to specifically serve the South Island and support the Datagrid venture Hawaiki's founders are also behind, which aims to build a supercomputing centre in Southland.

The new Hawaiki cable will be 7,000km longer than the existing one and significantly boost data capacity too. The use of new spatial division multiplexing technology will see the cable system deliver up to 240 terabytes of capacity per second.

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The aim is to support the exponential increase in data needs, driven by richer content applications which will only increase as Big Tech companies like Meta and Microsoft pursue ambitions to build the Metaverse. 

This cable takes a novel route in the world of subsea connections starting out in Singapore, connecting Batam and Jakarta in Indonesia before heading south to take in Darwin and Australia's eastern cities, before jumping the Tasman to the South Island. Data from New Zealand sources hops first to Australia and then forks off to Asia or the US.

Construction on the cable will begin next year and will cost significantly more than the original Hawaiki cable's $300 million capital spend, given the use of higher-capacity technology and the fact that the cable will snake through shallower waters between Australia and Indonesia, meaning some of it will have to be buried in the seafloor.

It's an ambitious expansion for Hawaiki, which was sold in July to BW Digital, a subsidiary of Singapore-based shipping company BW Group.

The Hawaiki Nui cable is expected to be operational by 2025.


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