Work begins on new NZ internet cable

Construction has begun on a new trans-Pacific high-speed internet cable linking New Zealand to Australia and the United States.

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Hawaiki Cable announced its contract with TE SubCom, the company building the 14,000-kilometre cable, had come into force.

The cable will deliver more than 30 terabits per second of capacity, is expected to be finished by mid-2018, and will provide competition long-sought by some telecommunications users for the Southern Cross cable, which is part-owned by Spark NZ.

The cable will link New Zealand with Sydney, Oregon and Hawaii, with options to expand it to South Pacific islands.

The government committed $NZ65 million ($A58.68 million) over 25 years to secure the cable in July 2014, following the failure of Pacific Fibre, which shut up shop in 2012 when it failed to attract the $NZ400 million it needed to fund its cable project.

The project is headed by Remi Galasso, a former Alcatel-Lucent executive who founded telecommunications infrastructure company Intelia, investor and philanthropist Eoin Edgar and Malcolm Dick, who co-founded telecommunications firm CallPlus, which was sold a year ago for $NZ250 million to Australia’s M2 Group.

“The lack of an alternative cable system connecting Australia, New Zealand, and the US has long been a concern of mine, so I am delighted to be part of this project,” Mr Dick said.

“Having built telco businesses in both Australia and New Zealand in the past, I am very aware of the need to provide competition by being independent of the incumbent operators. This increased level of competition and capacity should make data caps a thing of the past.”