Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


A trans-Pacific cable hurrah

Hawaiki's planned US$300 million submarine cable linking New Zealand, Australia and the United States looks more likely.

The Dominion-Post's Tom Pullar-Strecker reports the project will soon confirm equity partner funding from the Todd Corporation. He also reports Communications Minister Amy Adams telling Parliament the government is working with Hawaiki.

I asked Pullar-Strecker what odds he now puts on the project succeeding. He told me 'about 70 percent' and that he put the earlier Pacific Fibre project's chances at 50 percent.

This seems about right to me if the Todd Corporation confirms its involvement.

Supporters of a second trans-Pacific cable network to compete with the Southern Cross Cable Network offer many arguments. Some are better than others:


  • Capacity is barely an issue. Today we use only a fraction of Southern Cross's existing capacity. While demand continues to increase so does that network's ability to boost capacity. What's more the internet centre of gravity is shifting from the US to Asia. If anything future capacity constraints will be west of New Zealand, not to the east.

  • Improved latency. Pacific Fibre planned a direct cable which would offer reduced trans-Pacific ping times. It's not clear to me that Hawaiki's ping times would be shorter than those on Southern Cross. I'm also not convinced this is important for anyone other than gamers — most important cloud services have hosts closer to home and local caching eliminates latency problems for many other services. Latency is an issue for a minority.

  • Lower cost. This argument says Southern Cross has a monopoly and charges New Zealanders too much. There is something in this, but every time a competitor gets momentum Southern Cross sharpens its prices as it tries to see off the newcomer. Actually building a network, as opposed to planning one, will mean more competitive pressure and lower margins, but don't expect huge price drops when a rival network starts.

  • Security is the best argument of all. New Zealand's entire communications hangs by a single thread, well actually two physical cables, but a single cable operator. Given our entire economy depends on these links adding a third link means there's a smaller risk of everything falling over at once.

  • Newness. Southern Cross is now 14 years old. That means it's roughly halfway through its expected life. Although there's every chance it will last many more years, at some point we need to think about a replacement and that has to be in place long before the existing cable runs out of steam.

  • Technology. On a similar note, technology has marched on in the past 14 years. I've no idea if this means a new cable would be technically better — if you have knowledge on this please get in touch. And it's true that Southern Cross can continue to  update the kit on the ends of its cable. Nevertheless, I suspect engineers have learnt new useful things since that network was built.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

New HiveMind Project: What Should We Do About Sugar?

While most people agree that increased sugar consumption is a major cause of too many New Zealanders being overweight and obese, what we should do about this remains a matter of debate and argument. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Vladimir Putin’s Wonderful, Fabulous, Very Good Year

Safe to say that no-one, but no-one has had a better 2016 than Vladimir Putin. What an annus mirabilis it has been for him. Somehow, Russia got away with directly interfering in the US election process, such that a friendly oligarch is about to take up residence in the White House, rather than a genuine rival. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On The Media Normalisation Of Trump

We all supposedly agree that the media is going to hell in a tabloid handbasket, but the trends to the contrary can be a bit harder to spot. In his 1970s book The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe had mocked the way the media instinctively acts as what he called The Victorian Gentleman. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: The Reality Of Fake News

Fake news as reality; the inability to navigate the waters in which it swims; a weakness in succumbing to material best treated with a huge pinch of salt. That, we are told, is the new condition of the global information environment. More>>

Alastair Thompson: Helen Kelly And The Compassionless People
I wasn't a close friend of Helen Kelly's. But her passing has moved me to tears more than once in the past two weeks. I feel honoured to be one of the many who worked with her and was helped by her. More>>

Postnatal Depression: 'The Thief That Steals Motherhood' - Alison McCulloch

Post-natal depression is a sly and cruel illness, described by one expert as ‘the thief that steals motherhood’, it creeps up on its victims, hiding behind the stress and exhaustion of being a new parent, catching many women unaware and unprepared. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On News From The US Election Eve

Here’s a somewhat scary headline from October 30 on Nate Silver’s 538 site, which summed up the statistical factors in play at that point: “The Cubs Have A Smaller Chance Of Winning Than Trump Does” More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news