Southern Cross signs seven customers for NEXT cable

Southern Cross Cable Network says seven organisations have now signed letters of intent to use its planned Southern Cross NEXT trans Pacific cable. It says these include “three major Australasian carriers and four Pacific islands,” adding: “ Discussions with several other customers showing strong interest are also in progress.”

Southern Cross president and CEO, Anthony Briscoe said the interest from the seven customers would substantially cover the required project construction costs. “It highlights the level of confidence that our customers and the market have in the project.”

He added: “It is … extremely encouraging that after only nine months from our original customer information meeting in Sydney we have already managed to secure such significant interest in working with Southern Cross and the Southern Cross NEXT project.”

Southern Cross first aired its plans for NEXT in January 2016 and confirmed these in September. It said NEXT would be “a high capacity express route, providing data-centre connectivity between Sydney, Auckland, and Los Angeles” and “the lowest latency path to the United States by some considerable margin.”

Southern Cross announced in January that it had signed a route survey contract for NEXT, but did not reveal the name of the survey company. This was subsequently revealed as EGS when the survey commenced in February.

Announcing its potential customer count for NEXT, Southern Cross said about 45 percent of the 12,500km route had now surveyed, that tender submissions for the system build had closed and that the project was on target for completion during 2019.

The system is planned to have an initial capacity of more than 60Tbps, triple the 20Tbps capability of the current Southern Cross system.

Southern Cross said NEXT was being designed to seamlessly interconnect with the existing Southern Cross system and the 15 cable station and data centre locations across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii and the US West Coast currently accessible by Southern Cross.

It said customers with capacity on both Southern Cross and Southern Cross NEXT would be able to configure and reconfigure capacity across the various routes and segments of the two cable systems to reach all these locations.

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“Customers will be able to take advantage of the benefits a meshed network design can bring, spreading their capacity across three Southern Cross cable routes where available, maximising protection and minimising overall network costs compared to standalone systems,” it said.

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