Pacific Fibre has inked a deal with US-based cable company TE SubCom to build an undersea international internet link by 2014.
The companies signed a supply contract which will see TE SubCom design, construct and lay Pacific Fibre's 12,750km cable with points in Auckland, Sydney and Los Angeles.
Pacific Fibre CEO Mark Rushworth says demand for international capacity in Australia and New Zealand is increasing sharply, growing at a rate of 55 percent per year.
“The Pacific Fibre cable will not only provide unsurpassed high speed international connectivity to satisfy the growth in broadband demand, but it will also help Australia and New Zealand realize the potential of both countries’ multi-billion dollar broadband initiatives.”
The deal follows the announcement of Pacific Fibre's $91 million contract with Crown-owned research network REANNZ last week, which put the startup another step closer to making up the $400 million cost of the project.
According to the startup, its network will be the highest-capacity-per-fibre- pair system ever built. The cables will each have two fibre pairs, with an ultimate capacity of 12.8 Tbps.
The twin-cable system will link Australia and New Zealand via a trans-Tasman line, while connecting New Zealand to the United States via a trans-Pacific cable.
SubCom president David Coughlan says the partnership will bring "significant" benefits to the region.
TE SubCom is a subsidiary of TE Connectivity, a US$12.1 billion company, and developed the world's first transatlantic fibre-optic cable in 1988. It designs, manufactures and installs systems around the world, and has deployed more than 490,000km of subsea communication cable.
Pacific Fibre started looking for a new vendor to build the cable after partner Pacnet pulled out in April.
Director of business development Mike Constable, a former Pacnet executive, led the negotiations.
“We look forward to working with TE SubCom, and are confident that the company’s leading 40G and 100G technology, coupled with itsextensive experience and marine capabilities will enable us to successfully implement and deliver this landmark project by the scheduled launch in the first quarter of 2014.”
Headquartered in Auckland, Pacific Fibre was founded in 2010. Shareholders include entrepreneurs Sam Morgan, Rod Drury, Sir Stephen Tindall and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel.
Southern Cross Cable Systems, which Telecom owns a stake in, currently operates the only internet cable out of New Zealand, and last month announced plans to upgrade its system to increase speeds to at least 6 Tbps.