NZ group pledges new AU/NZ/USA fibre cable


A group of high-flying Kiwi businessmen have formed a new venture to build an undersea fibre-optic cable to connect Australia, New Zealand the United States.

The group includes The Warehouse founder Stephen Tindal, TradeMe founder Sam Morgan and Xero CEO Rod Drury, as well as former Vodafone marketing chief Mark Rushworth, telco veteran John Humphrey and entrepreneur Lance Wiggs.

According to a statement issued today, the group, which has dubbed itself Pacific Fibre and has set up a website and associated Twitter account, is planning to construct a 5.12 Terabits per second, 13,000km cable to be ready in 2013, connecting the three countries. That capacity, it said, would be five times the level of the existing Southern Cross cable.

The cable would also have the potential to branch out to reach several Pacific islands.

“We desperately need a cable that is not purely based on profit maximisation, but on delivering unconstrained international bandwidth to everybody, and so we’ve decided to see whether we can do it ourselves,” said Morgan.

Tindal said such internet infrastructure was “necessary and basic” and would help decrease the distance between New Zealand and the international markets. “Doing so will be incredibly valuable for New Zealand and Australian businesses and consumers,” he said.

“This is a bold vision which, as realists, we know will not be easy to deliver, it will take a huge effort to complete, and has many risks. While we have completed early feasibility work it is essential for people to know we now need to determine the level of interest from potential partners before we go to the next stage of a full business case, risk assessment and proof of concept to take to investors and bankers.”

“We realise the risks are large but are prepared to push through to the next stage. We have released this news today primarily to ensure that any parties who are interested in this space have an opportunity to speak with us during this early planning phase.”

Image credit: Pacific Fibre