Southern Cross completes survey on NEXT cable route

15 August 2017 | James Pearce


Southern Cross Cables has mapped out a shorter route for its NEXT undersea cable project after completing a 15,000km seafloor survey of the Pacific Ocean.

The NEXt cable will add 60Tbps to Southern Cross' existing network
The US$350 million project will connect Sydney, Auckland, and Los Angeles, with a request for proposal underway and Southern Cross now expecting to name a vendor by the end of the year.

The survey, carried out with marine survey company EGS, found what Southern Cross has called a “slightly faster route”, reducing latency on what it claims will be the lowest latency connection between Australia, New Zealand, and the US.

The cable will run through the Wallis and Futuna waters rather than through the Tongan waters, as was originally planned.

“The Pacific Ocean is huge, sure, but when you’re putting together a critical infrastructure project such as the Southern Cross NEXT project and connecting three countries and a number of Pacific Islands along the way, the ocean suddenly becomes pretty small,” said Southern Cross Cables chief technology officer Dean Veverka. 

“On a survey such as this, you’re effectively hopping from country to country, dealing with different jurisdictions and laws and customs. It’s the finer details of projects such as these that the general population aren’t aware of; it’s not as simple as simply setting sail.”

It will deliver 60Tbps of capacity for its customers, with eight already expressing an interest, including the Pacific islands of Fiji, Samoa, Tokelau, and Kiribati. Two existing Southern Cross cables already provide 20Tbps in the region, but the NEXT cable is set to go into service by 2019.

Southern Cross Cable Network president and CEO Anthony Briscoe said: “The route we have chosen will deliver the fastest connection between the shores of Australia, New Zealand and US – and we’re also connecting up several Pacific Island nations as well.”