Specialist submarine cable experts will be descending on Raglan later this month to lay the first section of a new link connecting New Zealand to the world.
The link, known as the Tasman Global Access (TGA) cable. will span the Tasman on the bottom of the sea floor, and is an joint investment between Spark, Vodafone and Telstra.
The $1 billion project will significantly improve New Zealand's international broadband connectivity, the telcos say.
It will also strengthen links to fast-growing Asian markets, improve redundancy and resiliency, and provide a better connection with the five main international cable systems currently serving Australia.
Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN), now part of Nokia, has been contracted to lay the cable between Ngarunui Beach in Raglan and Narrabeen Beach in Sydney.
Working laying the cable will start on March 29 and the first part of the process is expected to take about a week, dependent on weather.
Spark's General Manager Wholesale and International, Lindsay Cowley, and Vodafone's Wholesale Director, Steve Rieger, jointly commented on behalf of the consortium:
"The work in Raglan marks an exciting and important milestone on the journey to having the TGA cable ready to start carrying data across the Tasman towards the end of 2016.
"The first stage will see the crew of the MV Tranquil Image - a specially fitted out New Zealand vessel - bury a three kilometre stretch of fibre optic cable from Ngarunui Beach, through the surf zone and into the ocean."
An ASN ship will connect the next section of cable carry it across the Tasman to connect to the cable laid at Narrabeen Beach.
"We are keeping the Raglan community informed of the key construction dates and activities and we are extremely grateful for their understanding and support of the project so far," said Lindsay Cowley and Steve Rieger.
The TGA cable is currently on track to be completed, tested and ready for service by the end of 2016. The 2,300km length of cable is comprised of two fibre pairs, and will have a total capacity of 20 terabits per second.
Tasman Global Access cable
• 2,300 km in length
• Made up of two fibre pairs
• Total capacity of 20 terabits per second
• Joins Ngarunui Beach in Raglan and Narrabeen Beach in Sydney.
See where the cable comes ashore in this Google Map: