The specialised undersea cable ship ‘Ile de Re’ has arrived in Auckland – en route to the middle of the Tasman Sea where it will continue laying the final section of the Tasman Global Access (TGA) undersea cable to Raglan.
Telecommunications companies Spark, Vodafone and Telstra are investing approximately $100 million to build the TGA cable – which will stretch 2300km from Ngarunui Beach in Raglan, to Narrabeen Beach in Australia.
Upon completion, the TGA cable will significantly improve New Zealand’s international broadband connectivity.
Other benefits include strengthening links into fast-growing Asian markets, providing important redundancy and resiliency, and better connecting with the five main international cable systems currently serving Australia.
Vodafone Wholesale Director Steve Rieger said it’s a rare occurrence to see the ship in Auckland waters.
“The Ile De Re is responsible for building or maintaining more than 50,000km of submarine cable systems throughout the South Pacific – it is a very impressive vessel that is capable of some remarkable feats of engineering.
“Upon completion, the TGA will deliver significant benefits to New Zealand – so it’s exciting to take a closer look at the vessel to understand how these crucial international connections are made possible,” said Steve.
Weighing in at 5,378 tonnes, and more than 140 metres in length, the Ile De Re will be hard to miss as it docks at the Ports of Auckland for just one day.
The ship is scheduled to make its way back to the middle of the Tasman Sea on Thursday, to lay the final stretch of cable and connect it to the Raglan shore landing.
Lindsay Cowley, General Manager of Wholesale and International at Spark sa id, “The TGA cable project is currently on track to be completed, tested and ready for service by the end of January 2017.
“This is an exciting project that will meet the future international bandwidth requirements for New Zealand consumers and businesses alike – which are set to grow by 11,000% in the next 10 years,” he said.
The cable is comprised of two fibre pairs, and will have a total capacity of 20 terabits per second. It has 20 repeaters which are used to amplify the optical signals along the length of the cable.
The Ile de Re is the property of Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (part of Nokia), which is the company contracted by Spark, Vodafone and Telstra to carry out the TGA cable project.