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Southern Cross completes Pacific cable upgrade

Southern Cross Cable Network says it has successfully implemented Ciena’s 100G transmission It increases the NZ - USA capacity to 12Tbps

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 said 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?

Senior ISP and telco engineers lie awake at night worrying about relying 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.

The Telecom NZ, Vodafone and Telstra-planned Tasman Global Access will add capacity between Auckland and Australia. Some in the industry fret that Telecom NZ’s TGA stake and its half ownership of Southern Cross is monopoly.

Southern Cross annoucement 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.

Rod Drury Tweet on Southern Cross capacity: "Right on schedule, the expected Southern Cross capacity update to scare investors in new Northland cable "