Today will see Southern Cross Cables Network (SCCN) begin to roll out the Southern Cross cable to connect Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and mainland USA.
The first sector, to be completed in early August 1999, will run from Sydney's Coogee 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 before that date, said Ross Pfeffer, marketing director, SCCN.
The undersea cable will have a total design capacity of 200Gbits and a triple ring architecture to ensure rerouting of traffic if a problem occurs in one of the rings.
So far SCCN has sold $US640 million worth of the cable's capacity to around 25 carriers. Contracts will run for fifteen 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", and SCCN is targeting ISPs, emerging carriers, broadcasters and private networks.
A new pricing package for cable capacity will be announced at SCCN's annual general meeting in August 1999.
Alcatel is supplying cable for the network is being supplied, and Fujitsu and Alcatel are supplying network equipment, including landing station equipment, power feed equipment and add-drop multiplexers.