Moana Cable system to span 9,700km across the Pacific

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A turnkey contract to roll out a new submarine cable system that will link New Zealand and Hawaii has been signed by the undersea cables subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent – Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks – and Bluesky Pacific Group, a subsidiary of Spanish company Amper.

Spanning more than 9,700km across the Pacific, the new Moana Cable system will address the regions’ increased traffic requirements in terms of mobile broadband and the provision of fibre access to homes and businesses, by providing much-needed capacity and redundancy.

New Zealand currently relies heavily on the Southern Cross Cable system for international connectivity. In service since 2000, this cable has been upgraded to 100G in recent years, and now boasts lit capacity in excess of 3.6Tb/s.

The first long-haul submarine cable in the Pacific islands region to rely on the latest 200Gb/s transmission technology, the Moana Cable system will provide a substantial boost to the country’s international connectivity with ultimate design capacity between Hawaii and New Zealand of 20Tb/s.

Furthermore, the system is designed to accommodate the connection of additional Pacific island nations such as Niue, Tokelau and Tonga, which lie in close proximity to the New Zealand-to-Hawaii trunk, as well as French Polynesia on the East near the Cook Islands.

“For the Pacific Islands, it is important to tap into a digital highway between the larger markets to gain the benefit of economies of scale,” said Adolfo Montenegro, executive committee member of Amper and CEO of Bluesky Pacific Group. “In this instance the digital highway is Moana Cable connecting New Zealand and USA. Cost effective and reliable telecommunications bring significant benefits to education, commercial, medical and governmental activities and play a vital role in economic and social development.”

Under the terms of the contract, Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks will deploy its advanced submarine optical technology based on the 1620 SOFTNODE and OADM branching units to maximise capacity and network flexibility. ASN will be responsible for the project on a turnkey basis, from system design to installation and commissioning, as well as marine operations (cable laying and maintenance).

The Moana Cable Sysem will comprise two main segments. Based on two fibre pairs, the first Moana Cable system segment will connect New Zealand to Hawaii over a distance of 8,000km, serving Samoa and American Samoa and significantly enhancing route diversity for New Zealand; the second segment, based on one fibre pair, will traverse 1,700km from the Cook Islands to the Samoa hub. Completion is scheduled for 2018.

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