AU NBN threatens to deploy own cable to US

Rob Powell/Telecom Ramblings
28 Sep 2012

According to Commsday, Australian communications minister Steven Conroy recently said that if prices don’t come down the NBN will build its own subsea cable to the US.

The $40 billion NBN project certainly has the firepower to build a cable if it wants to, but their current project list is surely long enough to keep them busy for a long time without adding a submarine cable project to the bottom as well.

With the collapse of the Pacific Fibre plans for a New Zealand to California link, some of the forces behind it are clearly looking for a new vehicle. With big plans for their domestic FTTH networks down under, there is a desire at the policy level for a big bandwidth alternative to Southern Cross with direct connectivity to the US in the long term.

That being said, if Conroy really meant it he wouldn’t be talking — he’d be putting together a consortium right now.

But prices for bandwidth between the US and Australia have come down sharply of late due to other Pacific cable capacity increases, which is a big part of why Pacific Fibre couldn’t get funding.

Whether that recent trend will hold up going forward is another matter, but for now the business case for a new cable between Australia and the US is hard to make.

Not that such trivialities are slowing down grand submarine plans elsewhere these days…

This article was authored by Rob Powell and was originally posted on

Rob Powell is founder & editor of Telecom Ramblings, which was set up in 2008. The website is dedicated to discussing trends and developments in the telecom industry.

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