A cybersecurity expert monitors telecommunications traffic at a network operations center in a Verizon facility
A cybersecurity expert monitors telecommunications traffic at a network operations center in a Verizon facility in Ashburn, Virginia July 15, 2014. Reuters/Stringer

Telecom giants Spark, Vodafone and Telstra are joining hands to invest $70 million in building a new trans-Tasman telecommunications cable. The 2,300-km submarine cable will cope with the increase in Internet traffic between New Zealand and Australia.

The cable will have a total capacity of 20 terabits per second and run between Raglan on Waikato's west coast and Oxford Falls, Sydney, reported Business Spectator. Spark Chief Executive Simon Moutter told Radio NZ that the new trans-Tasman cable would give more security to New Zealand's international broadband connections, and it is not meant to merely lower prices for consumers.

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"What they get is assured service. Even if a ship's anchor was dragged through the cable, they will never see anything happen because we have increased diversity," asserted Moutter. Telecom Users Association chief executive Craig Young welcomed the cable on the ground that it would keep prices under control. The chief executives of the three companies described the partnership as a great outcome. Alcatel-Lucent won the tender, and it will be up and running by mid-2016. As of now, New Zealand's connectivity to the rest of the world is handled by the Southern Cross cable, which goes through Hawaii and Sydney and the Tasman 2 cable, linking Auckland with Sydney, reported 3 News. The industry is excited. Among the players, Vodafone and Telstra are long considered rivals. But they are comrade in arms in the trans-Tasman broadband cable project. The goal of increasing cable capacity and resilience will be in pace with the rising data traffic across the Tasman.


The providers are mulling bonanza to consumers in price and quality. Promising competitive rates for Internet providers, the Trans Tasman cable will have upfront competition with the Southern Cross network, and run from Auckland to Australia and United States. Spark already owns 50 percent of Southern Cross. The aim of garnering a larger market in the future was evident in the words of Vodafone head. "Once you get to Australia you reach a market where there are five cables going out of Australia to the rest of the world," noted Vodafone Chief Executive Russel Stanners.

Internet traffic between New Zealand and Australia is growing at a faster rate between New Zealand and the United States. While the former is growing in the ratio of 40 percent and still rising, five years ago, it was just 10 percent, according to an analyst.

However, the Australia focus of the telecom companies was played down by Telecommunication Users Association's Craig Young, who pitched for another cable to the US despiite the focus on trendy traffic patterns. Some competitive tension against Southern Cross is "essential" seems to be the refrain of many consumers. It seems the Trans Tasman is moving to that goal.