New Zealand’s government-owned education fibre network has signed on as anchor tenant to the $US400 million Pacific Fibre submarine cable venture, significantly boosting the service provider’s international capacity.
The Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand (REANNZ), an equivalent to Australia’s own AARNet, is expected to pay at least $NZ15 million ($AUD11.2 million) for the service, though chief executive, Donald Clark, said the partnership was worth some $NZ400 million ($AUD298.7 million) at current market rates.
“This is a long-term commitment, and one that recognises our support for the Crown’s policy goals of increased international cable competition at the right stage in the market process,” he said in a statement.
The deal would initially improve REANNZ’s international capacity from the current gigabit speeds to 40 gigabits per second (Gbps) from mid-2014, to an eventual 160Gbps once fully enabled. The cable itself aims to provide 5.12 terabits per second capacity on a 13,600 kilometre link between Sydney, Auckland and Los Angeles by 2013.
The submarine cable venture, which is currently undertaking its fifth round of funding believed to be worth $US350 million, following the loss of Pacnet as venture partner earlier this year.
The link to the US would form one of at least two major international capacity improvements for Australia in coming years, as Leighton Holdings (ASX:LEI) subsidiary Australia-Singapore Cable ramps up plans to construct a separate link between Perth and Singapore by 2013.
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