21 Mar 2016

Work to start on trans-Tasman broadband cable

12:53 pm on 21 March 2016

A new trans-Tasman broadband cable will hugely improve New Zealand's connection to the rest of the world, a tech commentator says.

Internet cable

Photo: AFP

Work is about to get under way on laying the Tasman Global Access Cable from Raglan to Sydney. Vodafone, Spark and Telstra have invested $US70 million into the project.

The cable would be encased in a waterproof canister, then armour-plated and laid on the sea floor.

Technology commentator Paul Brislen said the biggest risk to underwater cables were fishing boats, "which dredge them up at the drop of a hat", so the cables were laid in designated areas.

He told Morning Report that until recently it has only been possible to lay them out of Auckland. But having the entire country's internet access landing on either side of an active volcanic field was potentially disastrous.

"If there was a big incident in Auckland that damaged the Southern Cross cable we would be completely cut off for a very long period of time. Having this technological redundancy (cable) landing in another area means that's very unlikely to be a problem ever again, which is very good news," Mr Brislen said.

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