Hong Kong-based Pacnet has emerged as the white knight behind a proposed 5Tbps trans-Pacific subsea cable.
Pacnet yesterday announced plans to jointly build the cable, which will link Sydney to Los Angeles via Auckland, alongside unfunded startup Pacific Fibre.
Pacific Fibre revealed plans for the network, which has a design capacity of 5.12 Tbps and be initially lit at 240 Gbps, in March.
Four months ago, Pacific Fibre – backed by several high-profile New Zealand businessmen, including former Vodafone executive and Pacific Fibre's chief Mark Rushworth – pegged the project’s cost at NZ$900 million (€504.9 million).
Yesterday Rushworth revised the project’s “estimated system build costs to “around $400 million,” given Pacnet’s involvement.
Pacnet and Pacific Fibre will “each own and operate a fiber pair on the new cable system,” and share operations and maintenance costs.
“This model allows partners to complement each other’s expertise and resources while reducing costs and risks, and has been proven through a number of successful precedents including the $300 million [Pacnet-backed] Unity cable connecting Japan and the US.”
The Pacific Fibre cable will double capacity out of Australia, the pair reportedly claim.
A major selling point of the new system is that it will lower latency since it will skip traditional landing spots such as Guam or Hawaii and link directly to Los Angeles.
Its major rival is the Southern Cross system – 50% owned by Telecom NZ and 40% by SingTel – which currently offers 295 Gbps between Australia, NZ, Hawaii and the West Coast.