Kordia abandons trans-Tasman cable plan

IP from scoping studies offered to Pacific Fibre.

Kordia’s plans to build a trans-Tasman cable have been shelved following Pacific Fibre’s announcement that it is partnering with Pacnet on a new international cable connecting New Zealand, Australia and the US. “There’s only room for one cable across the Tasman and our project was always a trans-Tasman project,” Kordia CEO Geoff Hunt says. “Once they’ve (Pacific Fibre) got to a position where they can launch the project there wouldn’t be a business case to launch a second cable,” Hunt says.

Pacific Fibre announced yesterday it has formed a partnership with Pacnet, the largest privately owned cable network in the Asia Pacific region. Under the deal the two company’s will share the estimated $US 400 million ($NZ 546 million) cost of building a 13,600km undersea fibre-optic cable with two fibre pairs with 64 wavelengths per fibre pair and a capacity of up to 5.12 Tbit/s.

Pacific Fibre plan to have the cable ready for service in 2013. But as Kordia has discovered, getting planning consent to land an undersea cable takes time and money.

Kordia has spent up to $2 million and 18 months carrying out marine surveys, speaking to local iwi near its proposed landing site south of Raglan, arranging for resource consents and consulting with the fishing industry. Hunt says they hope to sell that Intellectual Property to Pacific Fibre.

Hunt says he is disappointed that Optikor won’t proceed but he says the project has already achieved its goal of lowering the cost of international bandwidth to New Zealand.

“Just the threat of competition has caused a dramatic reduction in the cost of international bandwidth out of New Zealand, so you could say to some extent its already been successful and a more ambitious project with connectivity all the way through to the US looks likely to get off the ground. Overall I think it’s been a good news story,” Hunt says.

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