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New Australia–US cable commissioned

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 09 April, 2019

New Australia–US cable commissioned

Southern Cross Cable Limited has appointed Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) to supply the planned US$350 million ($490.6 million) Southern Cross NEXT subsea cable.

ASN has been contracted to supply a cable system based on Open Cable architecture that utilises the company’s subsea cable technology such as its latest generation of underwater signal repeaters.

The Southern Cross NEXT cable is expected to be the largest capacity, lowest latency link between Sydney and Auckland and the US west coast. It is scheduled for completion in 2021.

Once complete, the new four-fibre-pair subsea cable will add an additional 72 Tbps of capacity for Southern Cross Cable customers, which compares to a 20 Tbps capacity of the existing Southern Cross systems.

The subsea cable will also provide interconnecting infrastructure for South Pacific nations including Fiji, Tokelau and Kiribati, and provide greater diversity for existing cables on the Southern Cross Cable Network connecting Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga.

Southern Cross Cable Network is 40% owned by Optus and its Singapore parent Singtel, 50% by New Zealand’s Spark and 10% by US-based Verizon Business. Telstra announced in December that it has entered into an agreement to buy a 25% stake in the cable system.

“Since the initial phases in 2016, interest in the project has grown significantly. The Southern Cross team has worked tirelessly alongside ASN to design a high-capacity system on the optimum marine route between Sydney and Los Angeles, and this contract shows that the hard work has paid off,” Southern Cross Cable President and CEO Laurie Miller said.

“A number of critical milestones have already been achieved prior to contract signing, with the Marine Survey completed in 2017, the completion of the Sydney BMH and bore landing facilities in 2018, along with landing arrangements in Los Angeles, and Auckland. These milestones ... have us on track to target completion of the system in the second half of 2021.”

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