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Telco trio issues trans-Tasman cable tender

13 Jun 2013

The three telecommunications companies that intend to co-invest in a new submarine cable between New Zealand and Australia have issued a tender for the cable’s construction.

Trio Telecom, Vodafone and Telstra signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) to co-invest in the Tasman Global Access (TGA) in February, while several international submarine cable contractors have also indicated interest.

It is anticipated a preferred tenderer will be chosen over the next couple of months, with a contract expected to be in place by later this year and cable construction starting in 2014.

The 2,300km undersea cable system is expected to enter service early in 2015, deploying the latest 100G technology.

Two landing options on the North Island’s west coast are being evaluated for the New Zealand end of the cable: one south of Auckland and the other to the north. In Australia, a number of sites in northern and southern Sydney are being considered.

The TGA cable is expected to significantly improve New Zealand’s international telecommunications connectivity as well as strengthen links into fast-growing Asian markets.

It reflects the growing importance of trans-Tasman internet traffic and demand from corporate customers for route diversity: around 40% of both Telecom and Vodafone’s international internet traffic is now Australia to New Zealand, versus just 10% in 2000.

The Tasman Global Access cable will also enable New Zealand to better leverage the four additional international cable systems currently serving Australia (with several more proposed or in development), providing important redundancy for New Zealand.