Pacific Fibre sets ambitious undersea network course

New Zealand-based Pacific Fibre's founders have a simple goal: "break the digital divide between New Zealand, Australia and the rest of the world."

Pacific Fibre wants to lure investors to help it build an undersea optical cable connecting Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. that can be ready for commercial use by 2013. While initial lit capacity will be 5.12 Tbps, the network can be upgraded to 12 Tbps as 100 Gbps technology advances further into more commercial networks. Claiming to have five times the capacity of New Zealand's current Southern Cross network system, Pacific Fibre's proposed network will deliver international data services to Australia and New Zealand with a connection to the U.S. via 13,000 km of optical undersea cable. The proposed cable would include two fiber pairs with 64 wavelengths (lambdas) with each running at 40 Gbps per lambda.

By providing a direct connection between New Zealand and the U.S., Pacific Fibre says that they will not only be able to reduce the distance but also reduce network latency. In addition, the cable could be used to provide connectivity to other Pacific islands.

While Pacific Fibre's founding members include an impressive roster of serial entrepreneurs and telecom experience, the obvious challenge the company will face is getting the necessary funding to get the submarine cabling venture off the white board and into a live operating network.

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