Northland's economic development agency has signed a deal with a company planning to build a new undersea cable linking New Zealand to the United States.
Northland Inc has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with developer Hawaiki Cable Ltd on a system capable of carrying vast quantities of data across the Pacific to Sydney and then on to a landing station in Whangarei.
Northland Inc chief executive Colin Mitten says the cable will be only the second of its kind and will provide not just competition in the market, but the security of supply needed for a multi-million dollar data centre in New Zealand.
Mr Mitten says Hawaiki directors have expertise in the undersea cable business in the Pacific Islands and links with major telecommunications players such as Alcatel.
He says the Whangarei to Portland cable will cost $US350 million and the company will seek to raise $US40 million from the private sector.
Colin Mitten says Northland Inc would want a $NZ10 million stake in the business and some of that could come from the Northland Regional Council investment fund. He says Northland Inc will first seek private investors and begin due diligence.
Hawaiki Cable chief executive Remi Galasso says the cable would deliver more than 20 terabits per second - enough speed to send 468 DVDs in one second.
It would connect a number of Pacific Islands to the main trunk, including New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa and American Samoa.
Mr Galasso says the Hawaiki cable would remove the sole remaining barrier to the development of a data-centre industry in New Zealand and could be operational by autumn 2015.