Southern Cross complete trans-Pacific cable capacity upgrade as rival surfaces

Southern Cross Cable Network says it has successfully implemented Ciena’s 100G transmission equipment across its network. Sales and marketing director Ross Pfeffer says the move increases capacity to 2.6Tbps on the two cables. It increases the total capacity between Australia, New Zealand and the USA to 12Tbps.

Telecommunications experts, including former Telecom NZ CTO Murray Milner, have previously suggested New Zealand will need additional submarine capacity within a decade. Advances in submarine cable technology and gradual switch in demand from the USA to Asian online destinations suggest capacity is not the main issue for cable users.

Is Southern Cross enough?

What keeps senior ISP and telco engineers awake at night is that, at present, they have to rely on a single monopoly provider. In engineering terms it is a single point of failure. Maybe not a single point of failure. Southern Cross operates two cables, which means there’s a degree of redundancy.

But two lines still leaves telcos and New Zealand’s growing digital economy relatively vulnerable. This explains why there’s a groundswell of industry support for rival cable projects.

Telecom NZ, Vodafone and Telstra planned Tasman Global Access looks set to add capacity between Auckland and the East Coast of Australia. Some in the industry fret that Telecom NZ’s stake in TGA and its half ownership of Southern Cross amounts to new monopoly.

Hardly a co-incidence

It’s almost a year since the last press release from Southern Cross. The latest announcement comes just one day after would-be submarine cable rival Hawaiki Cable announced plans to land is trans-Pacific cable in Whangarei.

As others have noticed, that is not a co-incidence.

3 thoughts on “Southern Cross complete trans-Pacific cable capacity upgrade as rival surfaces

  1. Did Southern Cross confirm 100Gbps on both legs or just the Northern route with the shorter hops? Last I heard 100Gbps wasn’t working between Takapuna and Spencer Beach. (The longest span on Southern Cross). Still Australia will be OK won’t they …..

  2. I’ve looked hard at Southern Cross’s website (Where they have always been very open about the amount of capacity available on each segment) and I can’t do the math to get to 12Tbps. Is there something we’re missing? Somehow they packed a bunch more waves into those fibres. Especially between Hawaii and NZ / Aus where there are less fibre pairs.

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