Auckland, New Zealand, June 29, 2021 – Independent submarine capacity provider, Southern Cross Cables Limited (Southern Cross) and Spark NZ, which looks after its cable assets in New Zealand, today celebrated a key milestone, landing the New Zealand segment of a new high-capacity cable originating at Takapuna Beach.
The Southern Cross NEXT cable (SX NEXT) will expand the capacity of New Zealand’s global connectivity, carrying an additional 72 terabits of data per second in and out the country. This makes it the largest capacity express route to ever land in New Zealand.
The increase represents an almost 100% increase in New Zealand’s international connectivity from current total market capability and is the equivalent to streaming more than 4.5 million Ultra HD 4k videos simultaneously.
SX NEXT will form a third route in the Southern Cross cable eco-system connecting New Zealand with key markets including Australia, Fiji and the United States. Southern Cross currently provides the lowest latency links between Auckland and Los Angeles, and Sydney, and the addition of the SX NEXT route will further enhance the capability of these key routes for New Zealand business and industry.
The SX NEXT system will also make a step change in connectivity for the communities and industries of Tokelau and Kiribati, providing high-capacity fibre links to New Zealand, Australia the USA and Fiji.
Hon Dr David Clark, Minister for Digital Economy and Communications for New Zealand, says New Zealand is highly reliant on global communications through submarine cables, and the additional capacity of SX NEXT is pivotal in driving partnerships and innovation.
“Being geographically isolated like we are in New Zealand means there’s never been a greater need to invest in our technology infrastructure and grow our global digital connectedness. Technology like this is critical for New Zealand to form stronger international partnerships that unlock valuable data volumes and drive innovation forward."
Southern Cross CEO, Mr Laurie Miller says the SX NEXT cable, once completed early next year, will further enhance Southern Cross’ fully diverse network eco-system, and help provide more solutions for a growing technologically competent audience.
“The Southern Cross network represents a critical connectivity platform for New Zealand and Australasia. The completion of NEXT will interconnect New Zealand to the world via an eco-system of 12 cable stations and 8 key data-centre hubs in Australia and the USA, spanning 6 countries and 8 time-zones all inter-connected by over 45,000km of cable. That’s more cable mileage than the circumference of the earth, and enough to traverse the length of New Zealand over 28 times.
“It can be easy to lose sight of the complexity and magnitude of the engineering involved, however New Zealand is a country where high-speed fibre and internet is widely available, and Kiwis increasingly need high capacity, low latency, dependable and secure networks to meet their online data needs, and Southern Cross is committed to ensuring New Zealand continues to be digitally equipped for 2030 and beyond.”
Jolie Hodson, CEO of Spark, a founding shareholder of Southern Cross, says digital technologies will be an important enabler of how we build back better as we recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and respond to climate change.
“The SX NEXT cable is a critical piece of infrastructure that will support the growth of technologies like 5G and IoT (Internet of Things), which have the potential to transform sectors such as utilities, manufacturing, and cities – boosting productivity.
”To meet ever growing customer data requirements, Southern Cross has invested more than US$1.5bn in its existing network over the last 20 years, and the SX NEXT project is a continuation of its commitment to providing world class quality, secure and diverse solutions well into the future. to a low-carbon economy.”
As submarine cable projects take many years to implement, the SX NEXT project represents the first step in commissioning of the replacement cables by 2030, when the existing systems are planned for retirement.