16 Jun 2013

Trans-Tasman cable project out for tender

8:54 am on 16 June 2013

A tender has been put out for the construction of a new undersea cable between New Zealand and Australia that could make the internet cheaper.

In February, Telecom and Vodafone in New Zealand and Australia's Telstra signed a memorandum of understanding to construct the $71 million cable which they expect to be in place by 2015.

Expressions of interest are now being sought from several international submarine cable contractors.

The successful tender will be chosen in the next few months and construction of the 2300km cable is expected to begin next year.

Internet NZ acting chief executive Jordan Carter says the new cable would be a big boost to New Zealanders.

"At the moment there's only the Southern Cross cable, so having a second link would be good for resilience and should help bring down prices on that route. It would also be good if they could land it at Raglan or somewhere other than where the Southern Cross lands to give a bit more physical diversity to the network."

Two sites near Auckland and several near Sydney are being investigated as landing points for the cable.

Telecom and Vodafone say the system is likely to start being used in 2015.