Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN) says it has completed the route survey for its $US350m Southern Cross NEXT cable that will link New Zealand and Australia to the US, and it now has “signed intent” from eight customers, including four Pacific Island nations: Fiji, Samoa, Tokelau and Kiribati.
This is one more customer since May when Southern Cross said seven organisations had signed letters of intent to use NEXT. It said then that these included “three major Australasian carriers and four Pacific islands” and that discussions with several other customers showing strong interest were also in progress.
SCCN says the survey found a slighter shorter route than that initially chosen – via the Wallis and Futuna waters rather than through the Tongan waters – further reducing latency on what it says would have already been the lowest latency route to the US. However it has not said now much difference the new route will make.
The survey, undertaken by EGS, mapped more than 15,000kms of seabed between Clovelly on the coast of NSW and Los Angeles. Southern Cross says it was completed ahead of schedule and “A request for proposal process is now well underway for cable suppliers, with the final vendor selection expected by the end of this year.”
It also announced in May that tender submissions had closed and now says it expects to finalise vendor selection by year and to have the system operational by late 2019 and will, initially provide 60Tbps of capacity.