A new drive to develop international network capacity is under way, in Pacific Fibre, an early stage international fibre venture founded by a group including Warehouse founder Stephen Tindall, Trade Me's Sam Morgan and Rod Drury, founder of SaaS software provider Xero.
Other founders include Mark Rushworth, former Vodafone chief marketing officer, technology industry veteran John Humphrey, and strategy consultant and entrepreneur Lance Wiggs.
Pacific Fibre is engaging in early discussions with cornerstone investors and customers, it says in a statement issued today.
The group is looking to secure funding and build a 5.12 Tbit/s capacity fibre cable to be ready in 2013 connecting Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Such a cable will deliver five times the capacity of the existing Southern Cross system, the group says.
Pacific Fibre's planned cables
Kordia, which had its own plans to build a new Tasman cable, welcomed the proposal.
CEO Geoff Hunt said today that Kordia has been in discussions with Drury and others over the past few months, and "is looking forward to working with them on delivering a technology solution that will bring New Zealand business up to speed with the rest of the world".
“Pacific Fibre is planning to work with reputable partners and a strong team to deliver this project on time,” says Hunt. “With the preparatory work that we have already completed on the Auckland to Sydney OptiKor cable, it makes sense for Kordia to team up with Pacific Fibre."
Kordia's focus will remain trans-Tasman, he says.
Morgan says New Zealand desperately needs a cable that is not purely based on profit maximisation, but on delivering unconstrained international bandwidth to everybody.
Stephen Tindall says the New Zealand Institute identified billions of dollars in economic potential by unleashing the internet, and it is beyond time to address the issue.
"This is necessary and basic infrastructure — we must decrease the distance between New Zealand and the international markets. Doing so will be incredibly valuable for New Zealand and Australian businesses and consumers. If we are able to deliver on this cable this it could be as valuable to our NZ economy as the quantum leap refrigerated ships were to our export trade many years ago."
Pacific Fibre proposes to run a most-direct cable from Australia and New Zealand to the USA, delivering lower latency will provide competitive advantage for the financial services sector and better browsing experience generally.
It will enable easy connectivity to the Pacific network by providing access at major CBD POPs (points of presence) for customers, for example. Sydney, Auckland, Wellington and Los Angeles.
The proposed cable configuration would be 13,000 km long, and have two fibre pairs with 64 wavelengths (lambdas) each at 40 Gbits/s per lambda. The maximum lit capacity initially would be 5.12 Terabits/sec, but would be upgradeable to over 12 Tbit/s as the emerging 100 Gbit/s per lambda technology becomes reality.
The newer cable and repeater technology that Pacific Fibre proposes to use will be substantially more easily upgradeable than that of existing cables.
Pacific Fibre will seek to work alongside existing industry players and also seek to aggregate any existing initiatives into a unified project.