iiNet, Voyager sign 'multi-million dollar' letters of intent with wannabe second international cable operator Hawaiki
UPDATE Oct 2: One of Australia's largest ISPs, iiNet, is the latest to join the Hawaiki party.
Like Voyager (below), Orcon, and TPG, it's pleged to buy a multi-million dollar amount of bandwidth should Hawaiki's proposed $US400 million cable linking Australia, NZ, various Pacific Islands with the mainland US get laid.
It's another positive step for Hawaiki (iiNet has around 1.7 million DSL customers) but again it follows directly in the footsteps of Pacific Fibre, which had the Aussie ISP signed as an anchor customer for its proposed Sydney-Auckland-LA cable.
Hawaiki now has a similar line-up of anchor customer pledges as the (ultimately failed) Pacific Fibre, all contracted to buy bandwidth if the cable goes ahead. Pacific Fibre also had ANZ lined up to fund up to 45% of its proposed $NZ400 million cable through debt. Hawaiki has yet to detail any funding arrangements.
Oct 1: If it gets built, they will come.
Business-focused ISP Voyager has signed a letter of intent to buy a "multi-million-dollar" trans-Tasman and trans-Pacific bandwidth from Hawaiki.
The anchor customer pledge should help Hawaiki convince institutions to invest in its proposed cable linking Australia, NZ, various Pacific Islands and Hawaii with the mainland US at an estimated cost of $US400 million.
Although it has so far largely being retracing the footsteps taken by Pacific Fibre in its (ultimately unsuccessful) bid to raise money for a Sydney-Auckland-LA cable, Voyager's support is another positive development the NZ-registered Hawaiki, headed by Noumea-based CEO Remi Glasso.
Voyager joins, Orcon and Australia's TPG, who have also pledged to become major customers should the Hawaiki cable get laid by the end of 2015 as scheduled (Vodafone - a high profile Pacific Fibre backer - has yet to come onboard with Hawaiki, perhaps because it is partnering with Telecom and Telstra on a new $US60 million Auckland-Sydney cable, which is fully funded and expected to be operational by the end of next year).
TE Subcom (the US company lined up for Pacific Fibre's build) has signed on as a contractor, and the government says it could throw $15 million into the pot via an anchor customer bandwidth contract for Crown company Reannz. The $15 million (which has been on the table since 2005) is only available to new market entrants.
Voyager CEO Seeby Woodhousesays the opportunity to purchase capacity on a second international cable out of New Zealand was great news.
NBR continues to hope Hawaiki can succeed. Two international cables is a more commercially competitive situation that one - especially if one of the cables is owned by an independent party rather than phone companies that also have retail interests.
“A single sub-sea cable system to the outside world [the 50% Telecom-owned Southern Cross Cable] has isolated New Zealand businesses from internet-based revenue opportunities. A carrier-neutral cable, like Hawaiki, is a step closer to lower wholesale data rates and faster and cheaper internet for consumers.”