The specialised undersea cable ship ‘Ile de Re’ is in Auckland, en route to the middle of the Tasman Sea where it will continue laying the final section of the Tasman Global Access (TGA) undersea cable.
Spark, Vodafone and Telstra are investing approximately $100 million to build the TGA cable – which will stretch 2300 kilometres from Ngarunui Beach in Raglan, to Narrabeen Beach in Australia.
“The TGA cable project is currently on track to be completed, tested and ready for service by the end of January 2017,” says Lindsay Cowley, general manager of Wholesale and International at Spark.
The TGA landing at Raglan on the West Coast provides an important cable route diversity to the existing Southern Cross cable connecting New Zealand to Australia and the USA.
It is expected to meet future international bandwidth requirements for New Zealand consumers and businesses alike, which are set to grow by 11,000 per cent in the next 10 years.
In a media briefing, Vodafone CEO Russell Stanners and Spark managing director Simon Moutter cite further benefits of the project.
These include strengthening links into fast-growing Asian markets, providing important redundancy and resiliency, and better connecting with the five main international cable systems now serving Australia.
“These are projects that are hard to fund singly,” explains Moutter on Spark's collaboration with Vodafone and Telstra. “They have very high capital cost upfront and long term return.”
“This is a great example where key players in the market have solved the critical infrastructure problem with no taxpayer money required.”
The ship Ile de Re weighs 5,378 tonnes, is 140 metres long and is responsible for building or maintaining more than 50,000 kilometres of submarine cable systems throughout the South Pacific.
The ship is scheduled to make its way back to the middle of the Tasman Sea this week to lay the final stretch of cable and connect it to the Raglan shore landing.
The Ile de Re is the property of Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (part of Nokia), the company contracted by Spark, Vodafone and Telstra to carry out the TGA cable project.
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