Hawaiki Cable has signed a supply and installation contract with cable systems vendor TE SubCom for its planned subsea circuit linking Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
The US-based cable systems vendor will design the 14,000 kilometre cable and survey its route before laying it. It will also make the cable itself.
While Hawaiki chief executive Rémi Galasso called the multi-million dollar contract "a major step forward", it does not mean it is certain the cable is going ahead, however.
A spokesperson for Hawaiki Cable told iTnews that "the tipping point is getting closer".
"There is still work to do and the focus is on closing new capacity deals to finalise funding," the spokesperson said.
TPG has already committed to buying capacity on the cable, and earlier this month, New Zealand ISP Orcon said it had signed a letter of intent with Hawaiki for an initial purchase of 30 gigabit per second of capacity.
Hawaiki has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Northland regional development agency to build a cable landing station in Whangarei, New Zealand, with associated infrastructure.
According to Hawaiki, the cable will use 100 gigabit per second wavelengths, and include TE SubCom's optical add drop multiplexing (OADM) branching unit technology.
The OADM units are incorporated in the cable design to allow Pacific islands along the route to connect to the main trunk.
The cable has an estimated construction completion date of late 2015.