Survey to begin on $350m Southern Cross NEXT subsea cable route

13 February 2017 | Jason McGee-Abe


Southern Cross Cables and EGS are to begin surveying the route of the $350 million Southern Cross NEXT undersea cable project.

Southern Cross Cables, which presently has two high capacity subsea cables with 20Tbps of capacity, has partnered with EGS, a global specialist multi-disciplinary marine survey firm, to undertake the survey of the NEXT route, which has been designed to provide “the quickest path between mainland United States, Australia and New Zealand”, a company statement read.

The NEXT survey will map more than 12,500km of the seabed from Sydney, Auckland to Los Angeles. Several Pacific Island countries are on the route and the Tonga Trench, the second-deepest point on Earth with a depth of 35,703 feet, will also be surveyed.

“There’s a common belief internet connections in Australia are ultimately provided by satellites – that’s wrong. Australia is connected to the global Internet via thousands of kilometres of undersea cables,” said Anthony Briscoe, president and CEO of Southern Cross Cable Network.

“Given the size of the cable, the nature of the undersea terrain and the vastness of our oceans, repairing that cable is a monumental task so we must ensure it is laid with minimal risk of damage. This means surveying the sea floor along the entire route to avoid any hurdles that may interfere with, or even sever, an important piece of infrastructure.”

NEXT, which is set to be completed in 2019, is set to deliver the highest capacity and lowest latency internet connection for Australians accessing US-based internet apps, as it is expected to provide an additional 60Tbps of capacity for customers. 

Briscoe added: “For many countries, a single subsea cable is their only connection to the outside world, making marine surveying for these cables among the most critical infrastructure projects in the world.”

The marine survey vessel, the Geo Resolution, will depart from Glebe Island, Rozelle, to begin the survey off Clovelly. It will be at sea for up to eight weeks at a time

Last month, Southern Cross announced that it was using transoceanic bandwidth services from Ciena.