As you browse the Internet, check the latest on COVID-19, Zoom, Skype, Facebook, share videos & photos, play games, email, What’s App, stream films, TV and music — do whatever, even work – have you wondered about the network that actually keeps New Zealand ‘plugged in’ to the rest of the world?
Well, here’s the lifeline … actually two of them, courtesy of SouthernCross Cable Network, owned by Telecom NZ (50%), Singtel (40%, a Singapore-based conglomerate) and Verizon Business (10%).
We’re routed via two separate pairs of underseas fibre optic cables through Hawaii on to California and Oregon. Apparently with plenty of capacity to keep us well-connected – 6Tbps now (tetrabytes per second), expected to reach 16Tbps in another five years.
SouthernCross told BayBuzz that current traffic on the network is using about 30% of capacity, with traffic having increased 20-40% for NZ customers since mid-March.
And according to their website: “The chances are very high that the existing cable will continue to perform past 2025 until at least 2030 and the upgrade path for the cable means we will be able to outpace demand for many years. The most likely scenario is that sometime towards the end of this decade we will look to building a third cable to complement the existing two cables.”
Personally, I don’t take great comfort in the fact that: a) SouthernCross’ headquarters is in Bermuda, and b) ‘our’ fibre cables come ashore at two of the most earthquake prone places on the planet. But it is what it is.
I’ve had mice eat through my household electric lines. I hope there’s no still-undiscovered sea creature lurking way down there interested in chewing on what looks like an eel meal!