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Dotcom pledges to resurrect international cable project

Sim Ahmed | Nov. 6, 2012
Kim Dotcom has announced his intention to invest in a second Internet cable connecting New Zealand to the world.

Once the cable is live, Dotcom says New Zealand ISPs would be provided with free access to overseas connections for residential customers. Government and business connections would be charged for.

He expects this to reduce prices across the market for broadband data.

Rushworth says he wishes Dotcom all the best with the project. "It will be good for New Zealand if he gets it away."

He says the meeting with Dotcom and Cogent Communications two years ago took place over a "lovely lunch" at Dotcom's house. However a deal with Cogent didn't eventuate because most of that company's traffic is within the US and it isn't a big user of bandwidth in this part of the world.

Rushworth was unaware of Dotcom's new plans but he is open to "a swim at Kim's" (a reference to a pool party that Dotcom held for high profile tech commentator Ben Gracewood and friends earlier this year) to find out more.

When asked if he thought it would be difficult for a cable project backed by Dotcom to get consent to land the cable in the US because he is facing extradition, Rushworth agreed that it probably would.

Rushworth says he hasn't done any work on Pacific Fibre for the past two months, "other than to lie there and think how else can this be done?"

Pacific Fibre co-founder Sam Morgan has tweeted about Dotcom's plans. "Dear Journalists: I've not yet talked to Dotcom, but wish him all the best if he is going to do a cable. Not easy, but important for NZ."

TUANZ CEO Paul Brislen says the case for a second Internet cable is strong, but the failure of Pacific Fibre in the past will weigh on the minds of potential investors. He says Dotcom's influence might play a crucial role in any new venture.

"He's a strange character, but his contacts might be just what is needed for a second cable. If anyone could do it, it is him," says Brislen.

Brislen says getting a licence to land a cable in the US will be difficult considering Dotcom is currently facing extradition to the US on copyright charges. Dotcom's chances lie with Pacific Fibre and its consents and previous ventures.

Brislen says this could be a defining moment for the New Zealand technology scene in showing it is capable of supporting a cloud business the potential size of Me.ga.

According to Brislen, the Southern Cross Cable has spare capacity to support Dotcom's new business. In October, Southern Cross said it has a capacity of two terabits and is capable of expanding to 7 terabits. Brislen says it has the cash to expand its capacity further if needed.

 

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