Construction of the 14,000 kilometre Hawaiki submarine cable that will link New Zealand to Australia, Hawaii and mainland United States has started with a ground breaking ceremony at Bream Trail Farm, Mangawhai Heads, Northland attended by NZ prime minister John Key and communications minister Amy Adams.
Through REANNZ the government has become an anchor tenant of the cable at a cost of NZ$65 million. Adams said the Hawaiki cable would increase connectivity for New Zealanders and contribute to the growth of the digital economy with more than 30Tbps of capacity, a fivefold increase on current capacity
When the cable is completed around mid-2018, New Zealand will have four cable links to the rest of the world – through the two Southern Cross cables, the Tasman Global Access cable and Hawaiki.
The NZ$500m project was confirmed in March this year when all-New Zealand equity funding was secured from Remi Galasso, a submarine cable industry veteran, New Zealand businessman Sir Eion Edgar and telecommunications entrepreneur Malcolm Dick.
Galasso said Bream Trails Farm had been identified as the optimal landing site for the cable. “Good local conditions, suitable water depth for the cable ship and easy access to terrestrial fibre networks were the key conditions to pick Bream Tail Farm.”
He said construction of the landing station would start early in 2017 and with completion scheduled for mid-year.
Edgar said the cable would bring huge benefits to New Zealand in terms of greater capacity, competition in Internet pricing, resilience and security of supply, and would deliver increased opportunities for the technology and IT industries.
Pacific Island extensions still uncertain
Hawaiki Cable has said there are options for extensions to several Pacific Islands. However the only one confirmed so far is to American Samoa, announced in April, with Galasso saying: “We believe Hawaiki is a unique opportunity for the Pacific Islands to have direct connectivity to a trans-Pacific submarine cable system.
“We also offer very competitive option for the Pacific Islands with an all-in-one package, including the subsea infrastructure, the marine maintenance, the international bandwidth and direct connectivity to major points of presence in the US, Australia and New Zealand.”