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Construction begins new internet cable

NZN 31/03/2016 Sophie Boot

Construction has begun on a new trans-Pacific high-speed internet cable linking New Zealand to Australia and the United States.

Hawaiki Cable announced its contract with TE SubCom, the company building the 14,000 kilometre cable, had come into force.

The cable will deliver more than 30 terabits per second of capacity, is expected to be finished by mid-2018 and will provide competition long-sought by some telecommunications users for the Southern Cross cable, which is part-owned by Spark NZ.

The cable will link New Zealand with Sydney, Oregon and Hawaii, with options to expand it to South Pacific islands.

The government committed $65 million over 25 years to secure the cable in July 2014, following the failure of Pacific Fibre, which shut up shop in 2012 when it failed to attract the $400m it needed to fund its cable project.

The project is headed by Remi Galasso, a former Alcatel-Lucent executive who founded telecommunications infrastructure company Intelia, investor and philanthropist Eoin Edgar and Malcolm Dick, who co-founded telecommunications firm CallPlus, which was sold a year ago for $250m to Australia's M2 Group.

"The lack of an alternative cable system connecting Australia, New Zealand, and the US has long been a concern of mine, so I am delighted to be part of this project," Mr Dick said.

"Having built telco businesses in both Australia and New Zealand in the past, I am very aware of the need to provide competition by being independent of the incumbent operators. This increased level of competition and capacity should make data caps a thing of the past."

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