Pacific Fibre picks vendor for subsea cable

Dylan Bushell-Embling
18 Jul 2011

New Zealand's Pacific Fibre has signed a deal with US-based TE SubCom to build its planned $400 million international cable.

TE Connectivity subsidiary TE SubCom has been contracted to design, construct and lay the 12,750km subsea cable linking New Zealand with Australia and the US.

ITNewsreports that the deal could be worth as much as $320 million, with construction set to be complete by mid-2013.

Pacific Fibre CEO Mark Rushworth told the news site that the deal removes risk from the cable project and puts it on track to be be built.

In May, Pacific Fibre announced it had secured its first major customer for the project. The company had forged a deal to provide international connectivity for the state-owned REANNZ's KAREN network, which provides high-speed broadband services for education and research bodies.

Pacific Fibre last week said it had signed the final agreement with REANNZ, revealed to be worth NZ$91 million ($77.1 million), which will help fund the build.

But the company must still raise more funds for the project, and is expected to complete a financing round by September.

There is currently only one international cable running out of New Zealand, operated by Southern Cross Cable Systems. Pacific Fibre has long argued that an alternative route is needed to stimulate competition.

TE SubCom, as Simplex Technologies, built the American segment of the first trans-Atlantic telephone cable. This cable, TAT-1, commenced operations in 1956.

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