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Telecom Heralds Southern Cross Landing In NZ

Telecom New Zealand Chief Executive Roderick Deane hailed the Southern Cross Cable landing in Takapuna today, as a significant milestone in the $2 billion investment project designed to greatly enhance New Zealand's communications with the rest of the world.

"E-commerce, email and other services provided through the Internet have revolutionalised how the world does business and how people keep in touch.

"Telecom's 50% stake in the company making this $2 billion investment shows our commitment to meet the bandwidth needs of New Zealanders and New Zealand business well into the 21st Century.

"In addition, the Southern Cross Cable will bring people on both sides of the Tasman and the Pacific closer together to communicate, transact business, learn and be entertained.

Telecom's partners in the Southern Cross cable project are Cable and Wireless Optus (40%) and MCI Worldcom (10%).

"Telecom initiated the Southern Cross project in 1996 in anticipation of the dramatic increase in bandwidth requirements resulting from the exponential growth in the Internet. Telecom is well experienced at such projects having implemented several other trans-Tasman and trans-Pacific cables over the years.

"Southern Cross is also the icing on an already impressive investment cake for Telecom New Zealand and New Zealand generally. Altogether since 1990, Telecom has invested more than $5.2 billion of capital into this country. This is, of course, in addition to the hundreds of millions we pay each year to our staff and suppliers and in tax to the Government.

"New Zealand now has to compete with other countries not only for its trade, but for the inputs that make up that trade such as capital and labour. We have known for some time that capital moves around the world at the touch of a button. As the online economy develops, we are beginning to learn that labour skills are almost as mobile.

"Remaining an attractive place to live and do business, will therefore be New Zealand's biggest challenge for the future.

"Together with other Telecom initiatives such as our new Jetstream fast Internet service and investment in our new CDMA digital mobile network, we are making more bandwidth available to a greater number of people - thereby increasing New Zealanders' opportunities to learn, socialise and do business on-line.

"Once completed, the 29,000 km Southern Cross Cable will be New Zealand's and Australia's fastest, most direct route to North America and onto the rest of the world.

"Such investment ensures New Zealanders will enjoy a first class telecommunications infrastructure. Southern Cross promises real and quantifiable benefits to all New Zealanders."


ENDS

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