Canterbury Development Corporation eyes international cable

Landing in the South Island attractive to southern investors

South Island investors may stump up some funding for a second international fibre-optic cable, if it makes a second national landing near Christchurch.

Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC) chief executive Bill Luff says he has spoken to Pacific Fibre - which is proposing a cable linking New Zealand, Australia and the US - about the possibility of a second landing in the region.

He says there are “interested parties” who would consider investing in the cable, but it would not be the CDC, which already backs Enable Networks, the local fibre network in Christchurch.

“There’s a difference between owning and being a tenant on that infrastructure and we would have to be very clear about where the value lay in both of those roles. The objective would be to improve international connectivity and connectivity for the South Island. That then plays into FX Network’s (national) backbone and plays into open access networks such as Enable,” Luff says.

“The analysis we’ve done shows that for a residential consumer the majority of the cost of connectivity currently is essentially paying for that international link.”

“There is no reason it can’t be done technically, and symbolically it is really important that the South Island is connected to the world and doesn’t have to route through Auckland for the South Island to be dependent on it,” Luff says.

Luff is supportive of Pacific Fibre's approach to creating an open access cable.

“Our feeling is that what is motivating the Pacific Fibre bid is some reasonably enlightened thinking, which is as akin to open access as you could probably get in international telecommunications infrastructure.”

When asked about Kordia’s plans to build a trans-Tasman cable, Luff says he encourages any plan that would bring better international connectivity, “but I think Kordia must be reconsidering their view in light of Pacific Fibre.”

Pacific Fibre chief executive Mark Rushworth was not available for comment.

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