Bill Bennett

Menu

Tag: submarine cable

Submarine cables sit on the sea bed and carry telecommunications traffic across the sea. Often, but not always, that means international traffic.

The Download Weekly – Vodafone FibreX back in court

Vodafone and the Commerce Commission head back to court over FibreX in a week the TCF issues broadband marketing codes that should avoid similar problems in the future. 

FibreX record fine not enough for Commerce Commission

The Commerce Commission has appealed the $2.25 million fine imposed on Vodafone for its misleading FibreX advertising campaign. It originally called for a $5.8 million fine.

Although the fine is a record for a Fair Trading Act office, the Commission says it is not punishment enough and won’t discourage others from similar conduct.

Anna Rawlings who chairs the Commission also says the fine does not appropriately reflect the seriousness of the offending nor does it reflect Vodafone’s financial resources.

Wilful conduct

The Commission argues Vodafone’s conduct was wilful, not an act of carelessness and it made the company a lot of money.

To support its case, the Commission plans to ask the court to take another look at evidence submitted by the consumers who suffered as a result of Vodafone’s action.

Among other specific offences, Vodafone offered consumers an online tool to let them know what broadband options are available at their home address.

The tool was designed to suggest that Vodafone’s FibreX service was the only broadband option at an address when that was clearly not the case.

Deliberate confusion

Elsewhere Vodafone went to great lengths to confuse customers into thinking its HFC network was the same as the UFB fibre network which was in the process of being rolled out at that time.

Vodafone persisted with its misleading campaign even after being contacted and warned by the Commerce Commission.

Last year Vodafone was found guilty and sentenced for 18 charges under the Fair Trading Act. In 2018 the company pleaded guilty to nine of the charges. Then in 2021 it was found guilty of a further nine charges after a 14 day trial.

Vodafone has released a statement saying it will argue there are errors in the original conviction decision and that there are aspects of the decision that misunderstand the service. It says the decision is not in the best interest of consumers or competition.

Comment: Vodafone’s counter argument is weak.

There’s no question Vodafone’s FibreX promotion is one of the telecommunications sector’s worst Fair Trading Act offences in recent years.

The Commerce Commission is right to appeal the case. Its job is to protect consumers from predators.

Information in markets like telecommunications is asymmetric with consumers at the mercy of aggressive or misleading marketing of technologies they barely understand.

A reasonable fine

Given that, the $5.8 million fine originally sought by the Commerce Commission looks reasonable. The figure is a small fraction of the amount Vodafone made from misleading its customers.

Remember Vodafone was warned. Yet it persisted with its offending long after the branding was shown to be misleading.

Letting Vodafone off with a slapped wrist does nothing to send the message that deception is unacceptable.

Vodafone has a point

Vodafone has a point when it argues in its response that its HFC service is now hitting performance goals that can put it on a par with UFB fibre.

Yet that was not true at the time in question. In 2016 FibreX performance was a long way behind UFB.

Likewise, Vodafone could be on to something when it says HFC is not subject to fibre company price rises and that makes it good value for money. However, there’s no guarantee Vodafone won’t increase HFC prices in line with fibre.

Two arguments in favour of the HFC network do nothing to address the key point of the Commerce Commission case: Vodafone knowingly misled customers and went on misleading customers.

If Vodafone was sincere about its belief in healthy competition, it should accept it failed to meet that standard in the past and renew its focus on providing a quality service.


Broadband marketing codes ease consumer choice

Two new codes from the Telecommunications Forum should help broadband customers make better, more informed buying choices.

The TCF drew up the code at the requisition of the Commerce Commission which issued a series of guidelines on how broadband companies market their services.

The Copper and PSTN Transition Code covers the phasing out of copper lines. It works with the Commerce Commission’s Copper Withdrawal Code which sets out the rules Chorus must follow when removing copper services.

Clear information

Under the TCF’s code, retail telcos must set out clear information on the options available to consumers.

A separate Broadband Marketing Code is also about giving consumers clear information. Companies offering broadband plans must provide accurate and up-to-date information about the performance and technical limits of a service.

Telecommunications Forum CEO, Paul Brislen says: “As an industry, we’ve put in a huge amount of work to create a model for consumers that presents technical information in a clear and accurate way.”

“The new Broadband Marketing Code means customers will be fully informed of the changes to their service, the timeframes involved and exactly what their options are.”

Telcos can sign up to the code and have three months to make the changes to meet the requirements.

Telecommunications Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson says he is encouraged by the industry’s positive response to his earlier call. He says the Commission will watch progress as part of its continuing market monitoring work.


Vodafone owner Infratil reports earnings lift

Infratil says Vodafone, the business it co-owns alongside Brookfield Asset Management, recorded improved earnings on flat revenue in the year to March 2022.

Revenues were much the same as the previous year: $1.97 billion as compared to $1.95 billion. The company saw gains in mobile, but these were offset by retreat in fixed line services. EBITDA for the year was $480 million compared with $437 million a year earlier.


Hawaiki cable acquisition completes

BW Digital says it has formally completed its acquisition of Hawaiki Submarine Cable Limited. The transaction was subject to regulatory filings and approvals, that’s all done.

Hawaiki founder Rémi Galasso is now CEO at BW Digital. He says the businesses next move it to capitalise on the assets and work on further projects in the region. This includes the Hawaiki Nui cable that will link Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand to the US.

In addition BW Digital is a partner with the Chilean Humboldt cable that will link Chile to ANZ.


Budget sets aside $20 million for tech sector growth

The government plans to $20 million over four years on its digital industry transformation plan.

David Clark, the minister for the digital economy and communications, says the money will go towards supporting the growth of the local software as a service sector.

It will also be used to fund a marketing initiative telling New Zealand’s technology story overseas.


West Tech aims to tackle digital divide

West Tech aims to put 1000 computers into the hands of students who don’t have their own hardware. The key lies in teaching primary age students how to recycle devices that are no longer used elsewhere. In many cases they would otherwise end up in landfill.

There is training for whanau who West Tech teaches to provide home support and show students how to make use of the hardware.

The project is run by Auckland Council’s Western Initiative along with Zeal, a youth development charity. Funding is provided by The Trusts, a community owned hospitality group.

West Tech says as many as 150,000 students do not have access to a home internet connection. Many of the are Maori, Pasifika, live in social housing or have disabilities.


Vodafone takes control of 52 retail stores

Vodafone has paid an undisclosed sum to private equity firm Millennium Corp for its 50 percent stake in Vodafone Retail. As part of the deal, more than 400 store workers will become Vodafone employees.

In 2019 Vodafone increased its share in the joint venture from 25 percent to 50 percent.

Jason Paris, Vodafone’s CEO says the 26-year partnership with Millennium was always set up with the potential to move the retail operation back into the main business. He says the acquisition is part of a broader programme to evolve the company’s “customer care” strategy.

Context

The shape of Vodafone as a retail telecommunications provider is changing fast. A year ago customer facing retail outlets were outside the main tent and, presumably, not regarded as a strategic asset.

On the other hand the network of mobile towers was seen as strategic. Today a stake in the mobile towers is for sale. It appears network infrastructure is no longer crucial to Vodafone’s ability to compete.


Thales: One in four Kiwi businesses breached in 2021

A quarter of New Zealand businesses experienced a data breach in 2021 according to the 2022 APAC Data Threat Report from Thales.

This compares favourably with almost one in three (32 percent) of companies in the Asia-Pacific region. Yet we are behind other nations when it comes to knowing where company data is stored. Thales reports one New Zealand IT leader in nine (11 percent) has complete knowledge of where their company’s data is stored. In the region 16 percent of respondents say they know where their data is stored.

Like other recent surveys Thales highlights the danger of ransomware. About half of all New Zealand companies say they have a formal plan to deal with ransomware while 40 percent have an additional budget to deal with the problem.


Government review ticks space activity law

Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash released a government review of New Zealand’s space activity laws.

The review found the law has performed well without safety or security issues.

A 2019 report found the sector contributes $1.69 billion to the economy and supports 12,000 jobs.

Nash flagged a separate study on space policy is on its way later this year.


In other news…

At Stuff, Tom Pullar-Streck writes about a bullish NZTE report that says New Zealand can compete in cloud computing infrastructure. Electricity prices could be a problem, but renewable power and lower temperatures are a huge plus.

United Arab Emirates telco Etisalat is now Vodafone Group’s largest shareholder with close to ten percent of the business. Etisalat says it has no intention to make a take-over offer for Vodafone.

The Financial Markets Authority warns New Zealand investors have been in the sights of scammers offering shares in Starlink. The scammers claim to offer shares in an initial public offering.


The Download 2.0 is a free weekly wrap up of New Zealand telecommunications news stories published every Friday.

All it requires is an email address. Your address is only used to send out the newsletter. I won’t sell it to anyone.

I’m not collecting the data for anything other than sending out the newsletter. Your name isn’t going to be sold anywhere.

 

Subscribe to The Download Weekly

* indicates required

Southern Cross Next cable goes live in July

 

Engineers make final splice to Southern Cross Next cable-minJuly will see the Southern Cross Next submarine cable almost double New Zealand’s international data capacity.  

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.


Vodafone’s Mooney on international trends

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.


The Download 2.0 is a free weekly wrap up of New Zealand telecommunications news stories published every Friday.

All it requires is an email address. Your address is only used to send out the newsletter. I won’t sell it to anyone.

I’m not collecting the data for anything other than sending out the newsletter. Your name isn’t going to be sold anywhere.

 

Subscribe to The Download Weekly

* indicates required

Hawaiki Nui to connect South Island

Hawaiki has revealed plans for a new submarine cable linking Asia, Australia and the South Island to the US.

Hawaiki plans Asia, US, South Island cable

Auckland-based submarine cable operator Hawaiki says a new 22,000km cable linking South-East Asia, Australia and the US will include connections to New Zealand’s South Island.

Construction is due to start next year and the new cable should be in business by 2025. Hawaiki Nui will have a 240Tbps capacity.

The main hubs will be in Singapore, Sydney and Los Angeles. It will have landings in Jakarta and Batam in Indonesia. In New Zealand there will be direct links to Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill.

Further landings are planned for Melbourne, Brisbane and Darwin. Remi Galasso who founded the cable business and is now executive chairman says “Hawaiki Nui has been designed to deliver direct connectivity through new subsea paths and provide optimal diversity.”

One beneficiary of this is Galasso’s new venture, Datagrid, a planned hyperscale data centre being built near Invercargill in the South Island.

Vodafone Data Centre Connect debuts

A week after rebranding, Vodafone Infrastructure Partners is offering high-speed fibre links to data centre operators. Wholesale customers can buy 100G, 200G and 400G wavelength services for direct connection between data centres.

Vodafone says the service is offered in collaboration with Ciena and is based on Colourless-Directionless-Contentionless (CDC) and flexible grid optical multiplexers. “The network platforms provide the highest degree of agility and flexibility with the ability to send any service anywhere in the network, dynamically.”

Kacific extends reach with consumer terminals

Regional satellite operator Kacific says it will use ST Engineering iDirect’s Mx-DMA Multi-Resolution Coding technology for terminals to support the Kacific1 Ka-band satellite serving the Pacific and Southeast Asia.

Kacific says this will help it reach underserved customers. Mx-DMA MRC is a patented multi-access waveform. It combines the scalability of MF-TDMA with the efficiency of single channel per carrier (SCPC) into a single return technology.

This allows Kacific to scale services while simplifying operations by optimising the network bandwidth in real-time. Mx-DMA MRC uses self-organising frequency plans for network planning. That way there is no need for upfront traffic characterisation or pre-configuration.

Kacific operates more than 8,000 terminals, including the new MDM2010 modems in Mx-DMA MRC mode, spread across 56 beams.

Ultrafast Fibre now Tuatahi First Fibre

Hamilton-based Ultrafast Fibre Limited is rebranding as Tuatahi First Fibre. The name is a curious tautology; the Te Reo word tuatahi means first in English.

2degrees survey documents the obvious

The latest Shaping Business Study from 2degrees confirms what most of us have known for months: that technology, digital skills and access are needed for businesses to continue operating in a post-Covid world.

According to the survey 35 percent of New Zealand businesses identify flexibility to work from home as important to getting back on track. A quarter say digital skills and access are important. It would be interesting to know more about the companies who don’t think these things are important.

Vodafone finishes Amazon Connect cloud project

It took a year, but now Vodafone has finished implementing the Amazon Connect cloud contact centre. It brings together all the telco’s contact centres and customer channels under a single umbrella. More than 1500 staff and partners use the contact centre to deal with around a million customer requests each month.

In other news…

At the IT Professional’s Techblog Peter Griffin says “During Covid we turned to video games to stay entertained – and connected”. He says 3.7 million New Zealanders played video games for an average of 81 minutes a day last year. Reseller New’s Rob O’Neill reports on plans by the GCSB cyber security unit to expand its protection to cover more organisations. It aims to do this by forming partnerships the private sector. Ventia, formerly known as Visionstream is going ahead with a $1 billion listing on the NZX and ASX reports The New Zealand Herald.

Here’s why Facebook, Google build submarine cables

Facebook and Google plan to build two new submarine cables connecting Asia to North America.

The Echo cable is due to be in operation by 2023. It links Indonesia to the US and will take a new route through the Java Sea. Bifrost should switch on a year later. It runs between America and Singapore. Both have stations on Guam.

The cables replace three earlier planned projects that ran to Asia via Hong Kong. With China cracking down, there are US concerns about spying on cable traffic through Hong Kong.

Capacity increase

Facebook vice president of network investments, Kevin Salvadori says the new cables will increase trans-Pacific capacity by 70 percent. It’s not clear what other cables Salvadori is counting here.

There are other projects. Facebook’s 37,000km 2Africa cable connects 23 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

When complete is will be the longest submarine cable yet built.

In the past submarine cables have been built by consortia of carriers or outfits like New Zealand-based Hawaiki. Spark, Telstra, Singtel and Verizon own the Southern Cross Cable network.

Private submarine cables

Now Facebook, Google and to a lesser extent Microsoft and Amazon are the biggest builders of submarine cables these days. That’s private submarine cables.

Google has a stake in more than 100,000km of submarine cable. That’s around 8.5 percent of the world’s cable. The company owns almost 17,000km of cable.

Last month it announced its 250Tbps Dunant link across the Atlantic is ready for service.

Facebook is not far behind with around 92,000km of cable. Amazon has 30,000km, Microsoft has 6,600km.

The tech giants own substantial stakes in cables operated by carriers and companies like Hawaiki. They are important customers on other cables.

In 2018 a report at the Motley Fool investment site says:

“Google already has the world’s largest privately owned fibre optic network, which currently handles a massive 25 percent of the world’s internet traffic for its search and YouTube offerings, according to the VP of engineering for Google’s cloud business, Ben Treynor.”

Needs, control

One reason they build private cables or take large stakes in consortia is the networks built for carriers don’t always meet their needs. At the same time they prefer to have control over where a cable goes and how it is run.

It makes sense because they are the biggest customers of submarine cable services. And they have the resources to finance the projects.

Submarine cables need a lot of finance.

Hundreds of millions

For perspective, the 15,000km Hawaiki cable cost in the region of US$300 million. The investment is not considered risky if there’s a proven demand, but banks and other traditional sources are rarely involved.

Hawaiki got over the line when founder Remi Galasso involved entrepreneurs like Malcolm Dick, Eion Edgar and Greg Tomlinson.

Big tech firms need submarine capacity for cloud computing and their content operations. With Amazon and Microsoft, the AWS and Azure cloud services are the main users.

Google is playing catch-up in cloud services. It is spending more than its rivals at the moment as it builds capacity.  Google also has a substantial content business including YouTube. For Facebook the content business is the main driver.

Datacentre traffic

All four tech giants are forever moving vast amounts of data between their data centres.

Alan Mauldin at TeleGeography writes:

“The growth in the amount of capacity deployed by content providers like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft has outstripped that of all other customers of international bandwidth in recent years. Content providers experience high volumes of demand between their proprietary data centres.

The requirements for inter-data centre demand vary by company but are related to database mirroring, search index synchronisation, and cloud computing services and applications.”

In simple language, data such as photos, videos and documents stored on Facebook by one country, say, New Zealand, is backed up elsewhere a few times every day.

Bigger markets

Another reason, tech giants invest in submarine cables is that many countries with large populations have poor connections to rest of the the world.

By giving them better access to the internet and, perhaps, cutting costs, it grows the potential market for Google search or Facebook accounts. More users means more revenue.

One oddity. Google and Facebook don’t sell capacity on their cables. If they did, that would make them telecommunications carriers. Telecommunications companies need licences to operate and are regulated.

In the case of Facebook, that might mean the company would have to take legal responsibility for the content it distributes. Facebook spends a lot of money with lobbyists to make sure this doesn’t happen.

What about streaming companies like Netflix?

You might think that streaming giants like Netflix, Disney or Amazon Prime would take an interest in submarine cables. After all, they distribute large amounts of streaming video data around the world.

They do, but they distribute in a different way. Google, YouTube and Facebook use a lot of dynamic data. People interact with it and it changes all the time.

Streaming companies sell large libraries of movies and TV shows. These are sent to the various countries where they are stored on local servers call Content Delivery Networks or CDNs1.

This is a form of edge computing. That is, the important action all happens close to the point where it is used. This speeds everything up.

When you select a show on Netflix, it is served locally, either from your city or one nearby.

While the Netflix or Disney library looks large from a user point of view, it’s small compared with the huge stores of content used by the other tech companies.

In round numbers there’s about as much data as you would find on 200 or so laptop hard drives.

Even if everything was updated daily — it isn’t — this wouldn’t use a large slice of a submarine cable’s capacity.

Is there a negative angle to this?

Probably not. If there is any downside for users, it would be at the margins.

Let’s say you are contemplating a new submarine cable between two cities. When that happens, the owner looks for customers before it lays any cable. It knows so much capacity can be sold to X and this much to Y. At some point there is enough potential business to give the project a green light.

Five years ago, tech giants like Google and Facebook would be on the customer list. They might be the difference between the project getting over the line, or not. A private link between the two point owned by one of these companies could change the viability.

Perhaps. It’s not something to worry about.


      1. In case you were wondering, the tech giants also use CDNs. ↩︎

On Tindall’s green data centres opportunity

A green data centres industry would unlock new infrastructure and create jobs.

Warehouse founder Sir Stephen Tindall

Writing at the New Zealand Herald, Warehouse founder Sir Stephen Tindall makes the case for building a clean, green data centres  in this country: The green, high tech opportunity NZ can’t afford to miss.

He says:

New Zealand has the opportunity to develop a green data centre industry that serves not only New Zealand government and corporate clients, but could position our country as the leading provider of green data centres to the Asia-Pacific region, much like Scandinavia has done for Europe.

As a global industry, data centre companies and users are leading the way towards carbon neutrality by investing in building new, modern centres that run on green energy. With our country’s high percentage of renewable energy sources, we are perfectly positioned to take advantage of this explosively growing industry.

Tindall is right. New Zealand can do this. Most of our energy is renewable. We have the skills needed to make this work.

We are much better placed to build data centres than a decade ago when Tindall was in a team of entrepreneurs behind Pacific Fibre. That was an abandoned attempt to build a submarine cable between New Zealand and the West Coast of the USA. Tindall’s thinking was ahead of the game. Now there are four cables connecting New Zealand to the world.

Green data centres good for jobs

Tindall makes a strong green case for New Zealand pushing further into data centres. It would be good for jobs too.

But there’s another argument for investing in New Zealand data centres. The term isn’t fashionable anymore, but there was a time when our leaders often talked about making New Zealand the Switzerland of the South Pacific. We are, in relative terms, a neutral player in international politics, not a threat to anyone. At the same time we have a mature political and legal system.

Data centres and cloud computing hubs are subject to the laws of the countries they are located in. Our laws are benign. We are not a totalitarian state. Nor do we have a worrying state security apparatus demanding to snoop on other people’s data. We can leverage these aspects. New Zealand has a strong brand as clean and green, it also has a growing reputation for probity and values.

 

Hawaiki submarine cable heads for mid-2018 launch

Hawaiki says it has completed the route survey for its 14,000km submarine cable connecting New Zealand and Australia to the US mainland via Pacific island nations and Hawaii. The job was done with Hawaiki partner TE SubCom.

Completing the survey puts Hawaiki on track to begin operating from the middle of 2018.

The company says submarine cable manufacturing is now well underway with more than 4,500 km of fibre ready to roll. It also has 25 completed repeaters and work has started on the branching units which will connect the network to American Samoa, New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga.

Hawaiki schedule

TE SubCom vice-president Debra Brask confirmed the project schedule. She says: “Our partnership with Hawaiki’s operations team is very productive and system manufacturing is well on track. In addition, permits are secured in Australia and are well underway in other locations. We continue to be on schedule for a mid-2018 completion.”

When complete Hawaiki will give New Zealand a fourth international submarine cable connection. The Southern Cross Cable Network has a figure of eight design and has links to the east and to the west of New Zealand.

The Tasman Global Access cable makes three. It connects New Zealand to Australia and was due to go live about now but is delayed due to a damaged sea plough.

Meanwhile Southern Cross is talking up its Next cable which it describes as “a high capacity express route, providing datacentre connectivity between Sydney, Auckland, and Los Angeles”. It is due to complete in 2019 and will add a meshed network design so customers can spread their traffic across what will be all three Southern Cross cable routes.