The much-awaited Tasman Global Access, TGA submarine fiber optic cable system is ready for landing at Ngarunui Beach in Raglan, New Zealand. This is the first stretch of the TGA submarine cable and marks the first step in the deployment of 2,300 kilometers long installation to connect neighboring Australia.
TGA submarine fiber optic cable system is a joint project supported by Telstra, Spark NZ, and Vodafone NZ. The project cost for the cable system is estimated at US$70 million. The project has been delayed for more than one year. It was originally announced in 2013 and the project completion date proposed at the beginning was the end of 2014, then shifted the project beginning date to early 2015 but could not materialize. The cause of the delay is attributed to the decision taken by one of the partners, Telstra to reduce its investment in the project.
Telstra came down from their original promise of one-third of the total investment to just around 6 million US dollars, which was estimated to be around 9 percent. Other partners had to rethink the investment in the project. Telstra’s position delayed the project. Simultaneously, Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks was contracted to deploy the TGA submarine cable. It is estimated that the deployment would be finished by the end of the year.
TGA Submarine fiber optic cable that will connect New Zealand and Australia is designed to have an operational capacity of 20 terabits per second. This capacity will be delivered over two fiber pairs. The telcos had originally promised the cable would provide 30 terabit/s capacity but declined to comment on the reduced capacity.
The three telecom companies also expect TGA to capitalize on burgeoning demand for bandwidth between NZ and Australia, expected to rise by 1100 percent in the next decade. Australia is well connected with the Asian continent by fiber optic cables laid under the sea. Australia has been achieving strong internet traffic growth in line with global economic shifts. The addition of TGA cable will enhance Australia’s connectivity with New Zealand. Spark New Zealand and Vodafone account for more than 70 percent of the New Zealand broadband market.
Initially, the specially-equipped NZ ship MV Tranquil Image will bury three kilometers of the fiber optic cable into the surf zone and sea at Raglan’s Ngarunui Beach. The longer length going to Narrabeen Beach in NSW, Australia will be deployed by a larger ship from Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN). The consortium says that the schedule for the work on the Australian connection of the TGA was subject not only to weather conditions at sea but the availability of ASN crew, equipment, and ships.