The cable is expected to provide an additional 60 terabits per second of capacity for customers, the equivalent of roughly 1875 HD movies per second (based on 1 terabit = 125GBytes, and a HD movie being 4GBytes), adding to the existing 20 terabits of capacity of the current Southern Cross systems.
The project is scheduled to be completed towards the end of 2019. The route was optimised via the Wallis and Futuna waters rather than through the Tongan waters, as originally planned.
Southern Cross Cables and the Hong Kong-headquartered EGS, the companies behind the project, said in a statement that the scanning of about 15,000km of seabed, from Clovelly, NSW, to just off the coast of Hermosa Beach, Los Angeles, in search of the fastest and safest route, had found one shipwreck, the details of which had been communicated to the Office of Heritage and Environment.
The survey in progress.
The statement said the survey had found a slightly faster route than first anticipated.
“People tend to think their Facebook and Snapchat content is delivered from overseas by satellite and that’s incorrect,” said Southern Cross Cable Network president and chief executive Anthony Briscoe.
“For the overwhelming majority of Internet delivery, our connections are made to various websites and apps from abroad by a series of ‘pipes’ that rest on seabeds across the globe, and those submarine cables are no thicker than a garden hose. People don’t realise that delivering a submarine cable is among the most critical infrastructure projects on the planet.
Crew aboard the survey vessel. Photos: supplied
“The route we have chosen will deliver the fastest connection between the shores of Australia, New Zealand and the US – and we’re also connecting up several Pacific Island nations.”
Dean Veverka, chief technology officer of Southern Cross Cables, said: "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.
“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.”