Aus network bandwidth doubled with $400m deal

Raw network bandwidth out of Australia is set to get a two-fold increase with a new $US400 million undersea cable project announced in Sydney today.

Data carriers Pacnet and Pacific Fibre have partnered to build the Pacific Fibre cable, a low-latency undersea fibre optic cable spanning Australia, New Zealand and the US.

The bandwidth of the new cable will be a minimum of two fibre pairs with 64 wavelengths per pair. Each wavelength has a throughput capacity of 40 gigabits per second (Gbps) for a total of 5.21 terabits per second (Tbps) bandwidth.

The cable length is estimated to be 13,600 km long and will connect Sydney, Auckland and Los Angeles. It can be upgraded to 12Tbps with 100G technology.

Pacific Fibre initially announced its intentions to roll out the trans-Pacific submarine cable in March, but at the time had not secured funding or a clear business plan.

No networking vendor has yet been selected for the equipment and both companies will go to tender for suitable suppliers.

Pacnet CEO Bill Barney said the increasing use of rich content and mobile Internet has driven up demand for bandwidth from Australia to around the world.

“As Australia and New Zealand look towards deploying national broadband networks that will raise broadband penetration and access speeds, this new cable we are building will deliver the enhanced international connectivity essential to support these initiatives,” Barney said.

Barney said the cable will go ahead whether or not the NBN does in the event of a change in the federal government.

“We welcome new partners to join as in this project and what we have announced today may not be final make up of the Pacific Cable,” he said.

Pacnet estimates the new Pacific cable will be five time the current capacity of the Southern Cross cable.

The project is due to commence next year and is scheduled to take 22 months to complete offering wholesale services in 2013.

Rodney Gedda is Editor of TechWorld Australia. Follow Rodney on Twitter at @rodneygedda. Rodney's e-mail address is Follow TechWorld Australia on Twitter at @Techworld_AU.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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