Southern Cross reels in orders

The Southern Cross Cable Network company is just keeping up with customer demand, said the director for the Asia-Pacific market.

"We're just keeping our head above water" in meeting requests for bandwidth and the equipment to shunt the traffic to and from users, Ross Pfeffer said.

"The demand for supply has forced us to accelerate our upgrade program."

Pfeffer said according to their latest set of figures, they had sold $US1.2 billion-worth of capacity, "and we've had another sales round since then".

The network which went live on November 15 2000, spans the Pacific Ocean with two separate cables, linking New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Hawaii and the US mainland, and has 40 customers on board.

"At the moment we are operating with less than a quarter of the total amount of capacity we expect to have [120Gbit/sec]," Pfeffer said.

The company is awaiting the closure of the loop between Hawaii and US mainland, which it expects to announce "imminently", before an upgrade to capacity can be made.

"The capacity available then will be quite substantial, more than half the total amount we expect to have."

Pfeffer said this extra capacity, which is about three months away, is currently tied up protecting the link between Hawaii and the US.

"We always expected that the 120Gbytes [of capacity] would only last two to three years."

He said the company was also having problems procuring interface equipment for the network's nine cable stations.

"Obviously we pre-ordered the [interface] equipment, but we have 12 to 18 month lead times on supply, and we're only just keeping up with demand on that."

The network is owned by Telecom New Zealand (50 per cent), Cable & Wireless Optus (40 per cent) and MCI WorldCom (10 per cent).

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