Telstra unveils largest submarine cable connection to US

9000km from Sydney to Hawaii

Telstra today unveiled the beginning of its aggressive international connectivity strategy with the announcement of a new wholly-owned submarine cable connecting Australia to the United States (US).

Telstra chief operations officer, Greg Winn, said the 9000 kilometre Sydney to Hawaii submarine cable is the largest ever built and owned by an Australian company.

"It will allow increased data, voice and video transmission capability to the US while significantly reducing Australia's reliance on foreign-owned companies in order to compete globally," he said.

The submarine cable will provide transmission capacity of 1.28 Terabit/s to Hawaii where it will interconnect with other cables providing direct access to mainland USA.

Telstra already owns capacity in these links to the US but currently purchases international transmission capacity from suppliers that are wholly or partially-owned by foreign competitors.

"Around 65 per cent of all Internet content today is coming from the USA, so this cable is really another example of Telstra keeping Australia at the forefront and connected to the rest of the world," Winn said.

"Owning the infrastructure that provides this vital connection to Australia enables Telstra to deliver additional network capacity and reliability to our retail and wholesale customers, and will maximise returns for shareholders when we re-route traffic from existing routes owned by competitors."

Increased network capacity will benefit customers who use data-rich services such as telecommuting, video-conferencing and mobile video applications.

"Also Internet users will benefit from greater security and speed when accessing USA-based information online via high-speed data networks such as Telstra's Next G network or BigPond," Winn said adding that Telstra will also be able to expand its end-to-end service offering that ranges from IP, mobile and intelligent network services to voice and data hubs, call centres and advanced multimedia as well as e-commerce applications.

"This cable provides a vital link to the world-wide Web, but for Australia to be able to compete globally, regulatory reform is urgently needed to facilitate the rollout of a high-speed FTTN broadband network."

Alcatel-Lucent will build and lay the cable with the project expected to reach completion by mid-2008.

At 9000 kilometres, the cable will be long enough to circle Australia 1.5 times and in addition to the customer benefits, will also support Telstra's IP network transformation.

Jean Godeluck, president of Alcatel-Lucent's submarine network activity, said the company has been undertaking undersea projects with Telstra since the early 1990s including the installation of submarine systems in the Bass Strait.

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