The specialised undersea cable ship 'Ile de Re' arrived west of Raglan on Sunday.

Since mid-October it has been laying a fibre optic cable from the mid-Tasman Sea. This is the final section of the Tasman Global Access (TGA) undersea which will stretch 2300 km from Ngarunui Beach in Raglan, to Narrabeen Beach in Australia.


The Ile De Re is responsible for building or maintaining more than 50,000km of submarine cable systems throughout the South Pacific. Weighing in at 5,378 tonnes, and more than 140 metres in length, the Ile De Re is hard to miss. 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.


5,378 tonnes undersea cable ship Ile de Re offshore at Wainui Reserve. Image courtesy of Richard GallagherA team of specialist submarine cable experts laid the first section of the Tasman Global Access (TGA) undersea cable at Ngarunui Beach earlier this year completing it on Friday 8 April. The cable terminates at a repeater station in Wainui Road.


Vodafone’s Wholesale Director, Steve Rieger said the 25 strong beach landing project team took one week to bury the three kilometre stretch of heavily armoured cable, which weighs roughly 22 tonnes.


The cable now being laid by the Ile de Re will be joined to the beach cable laid in April.


Telecommunications companies Spark, Vodafone and Telstra are investing approximately $100 million to build the TGA cable. A cross section of the cable is the size of twenty cent coin. 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.


When completed the TGA cable will significantly improve New Zealand’s international internet broadband capacity. It will have no direct effect on service in Raglan.


Images courtesy of Richard Gallagher

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