Southern Cross Cable Networks, the company which owns the Southern Cross fibre optic cable currently being laid between Australia and New Zealand, will announce pricing for capacity on the cable in Hawaii next month.
Twenty-five companies, including phone carriers and Internet service providers, have signed up for a share of capacity so far and will be told what it is likely to cost them at a customers meeting.
The first phase of the $US1.2 billion project has started with a cable laying ship having left Sydney for Auckland and the cable expected to reach Takapuna next month. The completed network will be a 29,000km undersea, high-capacity fibre-optic loop linking New Zealand and Australia with Hawaii, mainland US and Fiji.
At 200Gbit/s, the Southern Cross cable will have enough capacity to carry nearly 1.5 million simultaneous telephone conversations or a mix of voice, data and video traffic.
The Southern Cross cable will add to New Zealand's current submarine cable links - Tasman 1 and Tasman 2 to Australia, ANZCAN to the US and PacRim West and PacRim East to the US, all of which have less than one gigabit capacity each.
"This is an exciting milestone for Southern Cross," says Ross Pfeffer, marketing director for Asia-Pacific.
"The first of three cable laying ships is now in the water and the network is really coming to life. This is just phase one. Phase two sees the full network completed with cable laid between California and Sydney via Hawaii and Fiji. Phase two is expected to be completed in August 2000."
Initial capacity on the network will be 40 gigabits (which will gradually increase).