Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

New Pacific cable link plan unveiled

A new attempt to build a Pacific cable connecting New Zealand has been launched. Photo / Thinkstock
A new attempt to build a Pacific cable connecting New Zealand has been launched. Photo / Thinkstock

An Auckland-based company appears to be planning another internet link out of New Zealand, just a month after Pacific Fibre abandoned its cable project.

Hawaiki Cable, set up in May this year, has revealed a blueprint for a 10,000 km cable between New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii.

This main cable will also have branches running to Norfolk Island, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Wallis, Samoa and American Samoa.

According to Hawaiki's website, the venture hopes to "stimulate economic growth by eliminating the double tyranny of distance and over-priced international bandwidth".

As well as this it will "introduce true competition in New Zealand and in the connected Pacific Islands" dropping the cost of internet access, the website said.

According to a report on the Pacific Scoop website the proposed cable will cost hundreds of millions of dollars and aims to be completed by 2014.

InternetNZ chief executive Vikram Kumar said the cable would be positive for the New Zealand market, but believed it could struggle to get funding.

"They'll definitely make a difference if they succeed. The question is funding, that's what it comes down to. This particular cable is probably going to have to compete with another

Pacific Island cable which is backed by the World Bank. When demand gets fragmented in that way funding becomes very hard," he said.

Pacific Fibre, backed by Trade Me founder Sam Morgan, hoped to build an internet cable between New Zealand, Australia and the United States but announced last month it had failed to gather enough funds for the build.

Kumar guessed the Hawaiki project would have a 50/50 chance of success.

If the venture gets up and running it would rival the Southern Cross cable system, which is currently New Zealand's only international internet link.

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