Sophie Ryan is online editor for the Business Herald

Submarine cable comes ashore at Raglan

The first section of the Tasman Global Access submarine cable that will connect New Zealand and Australia has been laid beneath the sand at Raglan.

The TGA cable will carry broadband capabilities between Australia and New Zealand, improving New Zealand's international broadband connectivity.

The laying of the cable at Ngarunui Beach was completed last Friday by a team of 25 submarine cable experts.

Spark, Vodafone and Telstra are investing approximately $100 million to build the TGA cable.

Vodafone's Wholesale Director, Steve Rieger said it took one week to bury the 3km stretch of heavily armoured cable, which weighs roughly 22 tonnes.

"The team began by pulling the cable ashore from the specialised ship, the MV Tranquil Image.

"They then stripped a section of the steel armour back to uncover the four fibres inside, which are connected to the terminal station in Raglan and will be connected to Vodafone's AquaLink cable.This cable already lands at the edge of Ngarunui Beach and will be used to carry TGA traffic to two locations in Auckland - one on the Spark network, and the other on Vodafone's.

Rieger said 5000 sq m of sand and hard clay was excavated to bury the cable about 3 metres beneath the sand.

The remaining stretch of cable was buried about 1 metre below the seabed.

Once it is in service the benefits of the TGA cable will include strengthened links into fast-growing Asian markets, important redundancy and resiliency, and better connection with the five main international cable systems currently serving Australia.

Spark's General Manager Wholesale and International, Lindsay Cowley, said cable experts from as far away as Greece worked alongside excavators and builders from the local Raglan community.

"Together they have successfully completed the first phase of this important engineering project."

Cowley said iwi, council and other groups were consulted with during the process and there would be no lasting impact on the environment at the beach.

The TGA cable project is currently on track to be completed, tested and ready for service by the end of this year. The 2,300km length of cable is comprised of two fibre pairs, and will have a total capacity of 20 terabits per second.

- NZ Herald

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