A survey of around 15,000 kilometres of seabed has found a faster route for the Southern Cross NEXT cable project, which will connect Sydney, Auckland, and Los Angeles.
Southern Cross Cables today announced that the survey had been completed for the third route on its subsea network, with a new plan to lay cable in waters off the Wallis and Fortuna islands cutting the expected latency of the cable.
The existing Southern Cross Cable Network provides 20 terabits per second capacity; the US$350 million Southern Cross NEXT project will deliver an additional 60Tbps. The new cable is expected to be operational by late 2019.
In addition to connecting Australia, New Zealand and the US, a number of Pacific nations, including Fiji, Samoa, Tokelau and Kiribati, are expected to be hooked up to NEXT. Including the four Pacific nations, Southern Cross has received written intent from eight customers.
"The route we have chosen will deliver the fastest connection between the shores of Australia, New Zealand and US - and we're also connecting up several Pacific Island nations as well," said Southern Cross Cable Network CEO Anthony Briscoe.
The company said that a request for proposal for a cable vendor is currently underway; vendor selection is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
The survey, conducted by EGS, also discovered a shipwreck off the coast of Sydney, Southern Cross said.
The Southern Cross Cable Network is 50 per cent owned by Spark NZ, with Optus' parent company Singtel holding a 40 per cent stake and Verizon Business 10 per cent.
Earlier this year Southern Cross introduced new service offerings based on software-defined networking (SDN).
In April, a consortium that brings together AARNet, Google, Indosat Ooredoo, Singtel, SubPartners and Telstra announced they had signed an agreement with Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) to build the INDIGO cable system.
That cable system - formerly known as APX West and Central - will connect Singapore, Australia and Indonesia. Construction of the cable is expected to be completed by mid-2019.
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