Southern Cross Cables Network (SCCN) started to roll out the Southern Cross cable last week to connect Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and mainland US.
The first sector, to be completed in early next month, will run from Sydney's Clovelly Beach to Auckland, New Zealand.
SCCN, an independent entity owned by Telecom New Zealand (50 per cent), Cable & Wireless Optus (40 per cent) and MCI WorldCom (10 per cent), is financing, constructing, maintaining and marketing the new cable. The project is scheduled for completion in August 2000, although SCCN may decide to switch on completed segments of the network prior to that date, said Ross Pfeffer, marketing director, SCCN.
The undersea cable will have a total design capacity of 200Gbit/sec and a triple ring architecture to ensure rerouting of traffic if a problem occurs in one of the rings.
So far SCCN has sold $US960 million worth of the cable's capacity to about 25 carriers. Contracts will run for 15 years and will be activated within the first three years of cable operation.
Pfeffer said: "There is a fair amount [of capacity] left to sell." SCCN is targeting Internet service providers, emerging carriers, broadcasters and private networks.
A new pricing package for cable capacity will be announced at SCCN's annual general meeting next month.
Alcatel is supplying cable for the network, and Fujitsu and Alcatel are supplying network equipment, including landing station equipment, power feed equipment and add-drop multiplexers.