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Southern Cross Next cable goes live in July

July will see the Southern Cross Next submarine cable double New Zealand's international data capacity.
Engineers make final splice to Southern Cross Next cable
Engineers make final splice to Southern Cross Next cable. 

Southern Cross Next cable goes live in July

Telstra announced that the Southern Cross Next submarine cable linking New Zealand and Australia to the US will start operation on July 7.

The new cable expands New Zealand’s international data capacity by 72 Tbps. That means it comes close to doubling our existing capacity to the rest of the world.

Spark is the largest shareholder of Southern Cross Cables Limited, the company operating the existing Southern Cross cable and the next Next cable. Other shareholders include Telstra, which owns 25 percent, Singtel and Verizon.

The 15,900km Southern Cross Next cable runs from Sydney to Los Angeles with branching units connecting to New Zealand, Fiji, Kiribati and Tokelau. It will be the first fibre connection linking Kiribati and Tokelau to the rest of the world.

At first the Next cable will act as the third cable in the Southern Cross network. It will give the capacity a huge boost adding 72 Tbps to the 20 Tbps on the existing Southern Cross cable. It will add a further layer of redundancy. Eventually it will form part of the replacement for the original Southern Cross cable. The plan is to retire the older cable by 2030.

Southern Cross says its new cable is the lowest latency connection from Australia to the US. It is a single span express cable and connects via the most direct route.

More submarine connectivity with ANZ-Chile cable

CommsDay reports that a planned submarine cable linking Australia and New Zealand to Chile has passed an important milestone with due diligence now underway. The US$400 million Humboldt cable will run for 14,810km from Valparaiso to Sydney with branches including one to New Zealand.

Vodafone promises better quality, more reliable calls

Vodafone has enabled Enhanced Voice Services (EVS, also known as HD+ calling) on its VoLTE and VoWiFi network. At present the technology only works with a handful of Samsung and Oppo phones.

The carrier says for consumers EVS means better voice quality and better call resilience when network conditions are less than ideal. This would include during extreme weather. Carriers get improved network capacity with the technology.

Vodafone says it has make other upgrades to its VoLTE calling with the average connection time now less than two seconds.

N4L gives Chatham Islands schools network upgrade

Network for Learning (N4L) says all three schools in the Chatham Islands have had a network upgrade. They now connect via the Rural Connectivity Group’s new 4G network which was recently established on the islands. N4L and RCG worked with Wireless Nation on the project.

Before the upgrade schools on the islands struggled with frequent outages due to their remote location and the robust local climate.

Now students and teachers in Kaingaroa School, Pitt Island School and Te One School have a more reliable internet connection and increased internet speeds.

Philip Graydon, Principal of Kaingaroa School says the internet is three times faster than before.

“Previously, about 30 percent of Zoom calls would fail and drop out. Since the install, no Zoom or Teams calls have failed.”

Spark Sport signs UEFA and motorsports deals

Spark Sport has picked up rights to stream coverage of the 2024 and 2028 UEFA European Football Championship. The tournament which sees nations compete in a tournament over the course of a month is widely known as “the Euros”.

Elsewhere in a busy week Sparks sport streaming business has cut a deal with Discovery as the free-to-air broadcaster for the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). This will return to New Zealand from September 29 to October 2 later this year.

Head of Spark Sport, Jeff Latch, says: “It’s no secret the UEFA European Championship is one of the biggest football competitions in the world. Adding the 2024 and 2028 editions to Spark Sport’s existing football line-up, is great news for our subscribers.”

Spark Sport recently lost the rights to the English Premier League, which is the hottest football property, but still has rights to the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Europa Conference League, Manchester United TV (MUTV), Liverpool TV and the FA Women’s Super League.

For motorsport fans Spark Sport will be streaming the series “Pace Notes, the Road to Repco Rally New Zealand 2022”.

Infrastructure Commission sees broadband role tackling challenges

Earlier this month Te Waihanga, New Zealand’s infrastructure commission, tabled its first Infrastructure Strategy. It says broadband and other tech can play a huge role helping the NZ infrastructure sector deal with rising sea levels and a shift to a low carbon economy. For more on this see Infrastructure Commission wants digital strategy.

Adams to head Spark cloud business

Richard Adams is to take over immediately from Heather Graham as CEO of Spark’s CCL IT services business. Adams was previously the consumer channels lead at Spark and has been with the business for over a decade.

Richard Mooney, Vodafone’s chief strategy officer posted a handy five-minute read summary of his presentation to Tuanz on the international trends his company is watching.

While there is nothing unexpected here, he nearly ties up the loose ends with the big trends and shows us what his telco is thinking.

Continued data demand Data has been increasing at around 46 percent each year for a decade across mobile and fixed line networks. Mooney hints at busting the idea of net neutrality and getting the video companies who are now responsible for 80 percent of traffic to contribute to telco costs.

Hyperscalers It’s out of sight for everyday telecoms users, but in the background the largest cloud players are accounting for an ever increasing slice of the telecommunications cake.

Increased role of 5G Consumers, rightly, point out they see few benefits of 5G mobile networks, but away from handsets there is a lot going on, especially in business to business and machine to machine communications.

In other news…

The Australian Financial Review reports Spark and Vodafone are moving ahead on plans to sell their mobile tower networks. The AFR says Spark will keep a 30 percent stake in the towers and begin auctioning the remainder in June. It says Vodafone is expected to call for bids in the next week or two.

Mobile payments company Pushpay showed a 31 percent increase in customer numbers and a 13 percent rise in operating revenue in its 2022 annual result. The company’s EBITDAF (that’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and foreign currency gains or losses) came in on target at US$62.4 million. Net after tax profit was up seven percent on last year at US$33.4 million.

Strong revenue and customer growth didn’t stop Xero from making a $9 million loss in its 2022 financial year. The cloud accounting company passed the billion dollar a year milestone and increased customer numbers but also saw design and development expenses rise 49 percent.