Another year, another big Pacific cable plan from Hawaiki - this time with a Northland tie-in
"This is very different from the transTasman effort as it will actually change the game here in NZ."Featured comment
Is it that time of the year already?
Hawaiki is making its annual bid to raise funding for a submarine fibre optic cable linking Australia, NZ and various Pacific Islands to the US.
The company's Noumea based CEO and owner Rémi Galasso has been trying to drum up support for this project since 2009 (initially under the SPIN network moniker).
We've seen various partners mooted with previous attempts, from the French government to Kordia.
This time around, Hawaiki has signed a memorandum of understanding with regional economic development agency Northland Inc to land the new cable in the Whangarei area.
Under the MoU, "Northland Inc will aid both the landing and the funding of the cable, including sourcing local investors and promoting funding through the Northland Regional Council’s Investment and Growth Reserve."
The cable is budgeted at $US350 million (in a new twist on previous plans, a segment has been added linking Hawaii with the mainland US).
I hope a second cable operator does jump into the NZ-US market. Two or more players are required for competition. And good luck to Hawaiki.
But I can't see how Northland local government reps, and other Hawiaki partners, will succeed Rod Dury, Sir Stephen Tindall and Sam Morgan failed in their bid to raise $400 million for Pacific Fibre.
The only cable that's actually in the works is the Telecom-TelstraClear-Vodafone joint venture effort to lay the second major cable between NZ and Australia (from where there's a choice of multiple cables up to Asia and the US).
There are some question marks over that project, such as ISPs' wholesale access terms; ownership percentages; and iffyness over 50% Southern Cross Cable shareholder Telecom also holding a stake in the new link. Still, it's better than nothing, and at least it's fully-funded, and set to go live in 2015.