Telcos plan to build trans-Tasman cable

Telecom, Vodafone and Telstra today announced a joint plan to build a trans-tasman, submarine internet cable.

Telecom, Vodafone and Australian telco Telstra today announced a joint plan to build a trans-tasman, submarine internet cable.

The cable, which will stretch from Auckland to Sydney, is tentatively called the Tasman Global Access cable.

The cable is projected to cost less than US$60 million (NZ$71 million).

In a joint press release, the companies said the cable would "significantly improve New Zealand’s international telecommunications connectivity as well as strengthen links into fast-growing Asian markets".

The cable will three fibre pairs with a capacity of 30Tbit/second, which the companies say is about 300 times New Zealand's current data demand.

Currently, the Southern Cross cable (B) is New Zealand's primary route to the outside world. The TGA (A) is the proposed cable that Telecom, Vodafone and Telstra say will improve connectivity for Kiwis.

The design of the cable is set to be finalised "within the next few months", and the project is set to be completed in mid to late 2014.

Telecom chief executive Simon Moutter and Vodafone chief executive Russell Stanners said in a joint statement that the business case for a new cable was "compelling".

"Around 40% of both Telecom and Vodafone’s international internet traffic is now Australia to New Zealand, versus just 10% in 2000," they said.

“The Tasman Global Access cable will also enable New Zealand to better leverage the four additional international cable systems currently serving Australia (with several more proposed or in development),  providing important redundancy for New Zealand."

"This cable will enable New Zealand to better leverage Australia’s much stronger internet connectivity," managing director of Telstra Global, Martijn Blanken, said.

"It will also achieve significant international connectivity benefits for New Zealand to link withAustralia, and also onwards to the USA and into Asia."

The three companies are not the first to plan a trans-tasman cable - Pacific Fibre, which was headed by TradeMe founder Sam Morgan, had formed to build the cable but folded in August after it failed to attract the necessary funding.

We'll update this story as we have more information.