The New Zealand government is promising to bring on board an anchor tenant for a new cable project linking the country with Australia and the United States, Communications Minister Amy Adams announced today.
"To ensure we have sufficient international capacity in the medium to long term, the Government is making a NZ$15 million contribution available, and would commit to an anchor tenancy on a new cable for research and education purposes,” Adams said.
Adams' office confirmed that the NZ$15 million (A$13.3 million) in question was originally part of the goverment's investment in Pacific Fibre, to secure capacity for the Research and Academic Advanced Network New Zealand (REANNZ).
It was left on the table after Pacific Fibre failed to secure funding for its cable project and folded in August last year.
Hawaiki Cable's chief operating officer Ludovic Hutier welcomed the decision by the NZ government to offer to reinvest the money.
"We agree with Minister Amy Adams' vision of New Zealand's international communications and consider this call for expression of interest a great opportunity for Hawaiki," Hutier told iTnews.
Jordan Carter, who is chief executive of interest group InternetNZ said his organisation was delighted with the million dollar support for a new cable from the Government.
“Like the Ultra Fast Broadband and Rural Broadband Initiatives, we think this is a fantastic step towards ensuring New Zealand maintains our robust connectivity to the world.
“A new cable across the Pacific will allow the UFB and RBI to deliver the true high-speed experience New Zealanders need.
“We applaud the Government’s decision to support the cable, and look forward to seeing the project move from contracts to construction as soon as possible,” Carter said.
A spokesperson for Vodafone said the group remained confident the project wiould proceed.
"We are pleased to see that the Government acknowledges the need for extra diversity in New Zealand. However, it’s too soon to provide any detail on our plans at this stage."