Southern Cross Cable has confirmed its plans, first aired in January, to build a third trans-Pacific link to the US. It aims to have this in operation by 2020
The company says it held a customer information meeting recently in Sydney where the plans and strategy for the project, now named ‘Southern Cross NEXT’ were outlined to around 30 representatives of its current customer base.
“Southern Cross NEXT will be a high capacity express route, providing data-centre connectivity between Sydney, Auckland, and Los Angeles.” Southern Cross said, adding: “Given its design and route, it will be the lowest latency path to the United States by some considerable margin.”
The company said the new cable would be designed to have a bandwidth in excess of 60Tbps, “ensuring Southern Cross can cater for all customers’ growing demand requirements well into the future.” It said services to be offered on the new system would be an extension and integration of the services offered across the current network.
Southern Cross president and CEO, Anthony Briscoe, said the project had been in development for some time, but it was “exciting that we have been able to share our strategic plans with customers.”
He added: “While all major projects are ultimately subject to achieving successful financial milestones and approvals, Southern Cross and our sponsors recognise the significant benefit of the development of a third route to the Southern Cross network, in the near term, as well as a future for Southern Cross customers post 2030.”
He said the company had also held extensive talks with a number of Pacific Island representatives. Briscoe said: “While Southern Cross is not looking to build a new system interconnecting within the Pacific Islands, we remain committed to the Pacific and are open to discussion on how we can assist in facilitating the onward connectivity of a new system from the islands to the rest of the world in a convenient and cost-effective way to assist with a Pacific Island connectivity solution.”
Briscoe said the next phase of the project would see the launch an information memorandum to facilitate discussion among its sponsors and partners.
Plans first floated in January 2016
Southern Cross announced in January 2016 that its two largest shareholder – Spark and Optus – would “begin industry discussions about future international cable connectivity across the South Pacific” and had “agreed to work with the cable network’s largest customers and other industry participants to explore options for ensuring the future stability of international sub-sea capacity supply between Australia, New Zealand, and across the South Pacific to North America.”
Briscoe said at the time that technology advances had already extended the life of its existing cable system to at least 2030. “However given the lengthy lead times, and the importance of a strong business and investment case for such a long-dated asset, it’s now time to start considering how we can ensure the connectivity needs of future generations will be met,” he said.
Spark managing director, Simon Moutter, said at the time: “Spark envisages a cable to take over from the current Southern Cross cable will be the next step in ensuring that New Zealand and the Pacific region is well served by international capacity for the conceivable future.”