$400m cable is all go

By Sophie Ryan, Mike Dinsdale

1 comment
Sir Eion Edgar.
Sir Eion Edgar.

A $400 million transpacific internet cable set to land in Northland has moved a step closer with the company behind the plan securing funding for the project.

Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP and TE SubCom said in a statement the contract for the Hawaiki submarine cable system has come into force and the construction phase can begin, with the cable set to land north of Mangawhai.

The cable is believed to cost about $400 million and could mean faster and cheaper access to the internet.

The Hawaiki submarine cable system is a 14,000km cable system linking New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii and the United States and could expand to several South Pacific islands.

Permitting and initial route planning began in June 2015 and the system will be completed by mid-2018, the statement said.

Sir Eion Edgar and Remi Galasso, co-developers of the project, announced a long-term partnership with entrepreneur Malcolm Dick to fund and operate the multimillion-dollar cable system.

Mr Dick, who co-founded telecommunications company CallPlus, said the cable could make data caps on broadband contracts a thing of the past.

"The lack of an alternative cable system connecting Australia, New Zealand, and the US has long been a concern of mine, so I am delighted to be part of this project," he said.

Sir Eion added, "This is the beginning of a new era for New Zealand and the Pacific Islands in terms of international connectivity. We are excited to be at the forefront of this very significant infrastructure investment."

Economic Development agency Northland Inc said the news is a significant milestone for Hawaiki and for Northland, bringing investment and jobs.

"We've always believed the Hawaiki Cable project is a critical piece of infrastructure that will attract further ICT investment to Northland and New Zealand," Northland Inc CEO David Wilson said.

"There will be significant flow-on benefits in having increased competitiveness and diversity in our connections to the rest of the world. This greatly increases the attractiveness of Northland and New Zealand for ICT, digital, science and knowledge-based industries and provides a real opportunity for Northland to diversify its economy. We are also delighted that New Zealand investors, Sir Eion Edgar's family investment company, SIL Long Term Holdings Ltd, and Malcolm Dick, the former owner of broadband provider CallPlus, are behind the project," he said.

The project has also gained a $15 million capital contribution from Government-owned research network company REANNZ.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Communications Minister Amy Adams have welcomed the announcement by Hawaiki confirming it will build a submarine cable linking the three countries.

"Hawaiki's new cable system will provide more international data choice and resilience for Kiwi consumers and business and help progress New Zealand's digital economy." Mr Joyce said.

Permitting and initial route planning began in June 2015.

- Northern Advocate

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