A new trans-tasman cable

February 19th, 2013 at 10:05 am by David Farrar

have announced:

Telecom, and announced today they have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) to co-invest in the construction of a new submarine cable between Auckland and Sydney.
The new cable, tentatively titled the Tasman Global Access (TGA) Cable, will significantly improve New Zealand’s international telecommunications connectivity as well as strengthen links into fast-growing Asian markets.

The total cost of the TGA cable is expected to be less than US$60 million. The cable will incorporate three pairs with a current design capacity of 30 terabits per second – approximately 300 times the current internet data demand out of New Zealand.

30 terabits a second isn’t bad!

The TGA cable will achieve significant international connectivity benefits for New Zealand at a fraction of the build cost of another, much longer trans-Pacific cable, the consortium partners said.

It would be nice to have another trans-Pacific cable also, but this announcement is good news as it means more competition and more capacity. What is pleasing is that it is not just Telecom (who have the biggest stake of Southern Cross) but also Telstra and Vodafone.

Telecom chief executive Simon Moutter and Vodafone New Zealand CEO Russell Stanners jointly commented: “The business case for a new cable between New Zealand and Australia is compelling, providing greater capacity and global redundancy capability. It also reflects the growing importance of trans-Tasman internet traffic: for example, around 40% of both Telecom and Vodafone’s international internet traffic is now Australia to New Zealand, versus just 10% in 2000.

“We are seeing increased data content being provided from Australia-based servers by global companies and being accessed by New Zealand internet users. An additional cable connection with Australia will strengthen the business case for international data servers to be located in New Zealand.

I’ve blogged on this in the past. NZ will never be big enough to have global datacentres here, but if we can get the Googles and Apples of the world to do regional datacentres in Sydney, then we will pull more and more of our data from Australia rather than the United States.

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18 Responses to “A new trans-tasman cable”

  1. davidp (3,557 comments) says:

    >if we can get the Googles and Apples of the world to do regional datacentres in Sydney, then we will pull more and more of our data from Australia rather than the United States.

    Apart from a tiny bit of latency, why would we care? Most of the content and services we currently access comes from the States. Why would we want to relocate it to Australia?

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  2. RRM (9,665 comments) says:

    this announcement is good news as it means more competition

    If the three biggest players in the market are doing a joint venture together, isn’t that bad for competition?

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  3. tvb (4,255 comments) says:

    This is good news and may not have been possible under the old telecom which had a stranglehold on NZ by combining network and services.

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  4. emmess (1,398 comments) says:

    Makes much more sense than the Pacific data cable

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  5. DylanReeve (179 comments) says:

    Unfortunately it makes the chances of a second Pacific cable even less likely. A Pacific cable would serve us better than a Tasman one, and would also open up genuine competition to reduce costs, but it’s expensive and difficult. A Tasman cable is cheap and therefore easy – it improves things in general but not nearly as well as a Pacific cable would.

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  6. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    Nerd Alert.

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  7. Ancient Dan (44 comments) says:

    Its good news – The more cables the better.

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  8. James Stephenson (2,094 comments) says:

    A Pacific cable would serve us better than a Tasman one,

    A Tasman cable would be able to link up to Pipe’s Australia-Guam cable and hook into the US via that (as Kordia were looking at doing)

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  9. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    The future is going to be Asian, so New Zealand should be looking at data links to Asia not to America.

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  10. scrubone (3,082 comments) says:

    That’s pretty cheap for a trans-tasman cable considering Manukau CC replaced a culvert over a creak for about that much.

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  11. scrubone (3,082 comments) says:

    The future is going to be Asian

    Would be a lot more convincing if you’d said that in chinese :P

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  12. RAS (63 comments) says:

    “The future is going to be Asian, so New Zealand should be looking at data links to Asia not to America.”
    That’s silly. Are we all going to suddenly start speaking Mandarin? There’ll be more demand for links to the anglosphere for a while yet.
    It’s good that they’re building a better link to Aus, I’m just unconvinced that a cartel is going to be that much better than a monopoly for the end user. It’s really too bad that Pacific Fibre went down.

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  13. peterwn (3,215 comments) says:

    The first trans-tasman cable was opened 123 years ago and ran between La Perouse, Botany Bay and Cable Bay near Nelson. Together with the completion of the Overland Telegraph between Port Augusta and Darwin, this connected NZ to the world. In 1962 the first telephone cable was commissioned between Sydney and Auckland. Its capacity was 80 speech channels (no kidding!) and used vacuum tube submarine amplifiers – transistors were not considered sufficiently proven (they put about 3000 volts DC across the ends of the cable to power the amplifiers). Things have come a long way since.

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  14. backster (2,123 comments) says:

    Maybe they should have asked Kim . com to take a cornerstone shareholding.

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  15. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    Maybe Kordia should buy the Telecom share in this?

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  16. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    “The future is going to be Asian”

    John Key has already stated our kids need to learn Chinese

    What part of that don’t we understand ?

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  17. RightNow (6,843 comments) says:

    我们的孩子需要学习中文

    That part.

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  18. marynicolehicks (24 comments) says:

    1. Get rid of aluminium smelter.
    2. Attract Google with cheap power.
    3. Use new data center for computation (rather than delivering web based content)
    4. Sell New Zealand as the ultimate offsite backup for America (It is even in a different hemisphere)
    5. Sell insurance based on computer backups

    x. Profit!

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