Feb. 19 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's dominant mobile and landline phone companies Telecom and Vodafone New Zealand are teaming up with Australian rival Telstra to look building a new trans-Tasman submarine cable to lift the nation's internet links to the rest of the world.
The phone companies have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding to co-invest in the build of an Auckland-to-Sydney link, at a cost of at least US$60 million, they said in a joint statement. The link, tentatively called the Tasman Global Access Cable, would incorporate three fibre pairs with a current capacity of 30 terabits a second.
"The business case for a new cable between New Zealand and Australia is compelling, providing greater capacity and global redundancy capability," Telecom chief executive Simon Moutter and Vodafone NZ head Russell Stanners said. "An additional cable connection with Australia will strengthen the business case for international data servers to be located in New Zealand."
The deal comes after Pacific Fibre's $400 million trans-Pacific link fell over after failing to attract enough investment, and as Hawaiki Cable emerged as the latest player with plans to link the Pacific Islands with New Zealand the US.
The TGA design is expected to be finalised in the coming months, with a likely completion date in mid to late 2014.
Last month, Southern Cross Cable, which counts Telecom as an owner, announced it would cut its capacity prices by a fifth. The cable runs in a figure-eight loop between New Zealand, Hawaii, Fiji and the US mainland, is nearing completion of its eight capacity upgrade, taking total lit capacity to 2 Terabits a second.