Spark, Vodafone, Telstra launch Tasman Global Access cable
31 March 2017 | Jason McGee-Abe
Spark, Vodafone and Telstra have announced the 2,288km Tasman Global Access (TGA) cable is live and officially in service.
The announcement comes after news emerged in mid-January that mechanical faults would delay the completion of the TGA cable by two months.
The three telecommunications companies have invested approximately AUS$100 million ($70m) to build the TGA cable. The consortium of Spark, Vodafone and Telstra have contracted Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN), now part of Nokia, to lay the TGA cable between Ngarunui Beach at Raglan and Narrabeen Beach in Sydney, Australia.
Spark general manager of wholesale and international, Jilyut Wong, said it is pleasing to see the cable ready for service.
“We first launched this project at the end of 2014 and it is fantastic to see it come to fruition today. The TGA cable represents a big investment in trans-Tasman telecommunications and a huge amount of work has gone into getting it across the line and in service. The added resilience and diversity is extremely important to keeping New Zealand connected, now and into the future,” Wong said.
The cable has been constructed to deliver more international bandwidth and capacity for New Zealand, and to strengthen diversity and resiliency within the country’s telecommunications infrastructure.
The cable also serves as an important digital link to fast-growing Asian economic markets by enabling better connectivity to the five major international cable systems currently serving Australia. For example, the TGA landing at Raglan provides important cable route diversity to the existing Southern Cross cable connecting New Zealand to Australia and the USA.
Vodafone wholesale director, Steve Rieger, said: “As an industry we’ve seen tremendous growth in trans-Tasman Internet traffic with New Zealand’s international capacity requirements growing 60 percent year-on-year and projected 11,000% growth over the next 10 years. We’re delighted to see the TGA cable in service and ready to support the current and future needs of consumers, and the growth aspirations of New Zealand businesses.”
The TGA is comprised of two fibre pairs, has a total design capacity of 20Tbps and has 20 repeaters which are used to amplify the optical signals along the length of the cable. The TGA cable was laid by the Alcatel Submarine Networks Ile De Re cable-laying ship.
Since 2000, both Spark and Vodafone’s trans-Tasman internet traffic has grown from just 10% of total international traffic to 60% today.
Darrin Webb, Telstra’s executive director of international operations and services, added: “We are pleased to see the TGA cable now in operation. This important piece of infrastructure will significantly improve connectivity between Australia and New Zealand, in addition to strengthening New Zealand’s links with Asia. Our stake in this cable is just one of our recent network extensions to meet growing demand for data and better connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region.”