29 Jun 2021
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Southern Cross NEXT submarine cable touches down at Auckland's Takapuna Beach

By Sara Barker

Auckland’s Takapuna Beach is now the official landing point for a new submarine cable, which is being called ‘the largest capacity express route to ever land in New Zealand’.

Partners Spark and Southern Cross Cables celebrated the high-capacity NEXT (SX NEXT) cable’s landing, which will support an additional 72TB/s data coming in and out of the country - that’s the equivalent of streaming more than 4.5 million 4K videos simultaneously.

Such a boost in capacity, according to Southern Cross Cables, also boosts New Zealand’s international connectivity by almost 100%. 

According to Minister for Digital Economy and Communications David Clark, New Zealand relies heavily on submarine cables that connect the country with the rest of the world.

“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.”

When it is completed in 2022, SX NEXT will also link New Zealand with Australia, Tokelau, Kiribati, Fiji and the United States.

Southern Cross CEO Laurie Miller says SX NEXT will also expand the company’s network ecosystem and provide more solutions for customers.

“The completion of NEXT will interconnect New Zealand to the world via an ecosystem of 12 cable stations and eight key data centre hubs in Australia and the USA, spanning six countries and eight timezones all interconnected 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.”

Miller warns that it can be easy to forget the engineering challenges behind the scenes. Despite those challenges, New Zealand is supported by high-speed fibre and internet, as well as high-capacity and low-latency networks.

Spark CEO Jolie Hodson is a founding shareholder of Southern Cross Cables. She says the SX NEXT cable is critical infrastructure that will support emerging technologies like 5G and the internet of things.

The SX NEXT cable is the first part of a long-term replacement strategy and is due to be in service from April 2022.

Southern Cross Cables has invested more than US$1.5 billion in its networks over the last 20 years. The company also runs a cable that connects Australia, Fiji, Hawaii and the United States, as well as another cable that connects New Zealand, Hawaii, and the United States.

Southern Cross says that SX NEXT is the first step in commissioning replacement submarine cables by 2030, to support the retirement of existing systems.

*Image supplied by Southern Cross Cables.

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