Dotcom signals sea cable venture
Sunday 4 Nov 2012 10:52 a.m.
The backers of an abandoned project to build a trans-Pacific broadband cable say they are open to talking to internet mogul Kim Dotcom about reviving the idea.
The $400 million Pacific Fibre plan to build a 12,950km fibre cable between Auckland, Sydney and Los Angeles was abandoned in August due to lack of funding.
Its backers included Trade Me founder Sam Morgan, The Warehouse founder Sir Stephen Tindall and technology entrepreneur Rod Drury.
Dotcom, who faces internet piracy charges in the US over his file-sharing website Megaupload, is planning to launch a new cloud storage service in January.
He wants the new cable to provide faster internet access for his sites, and says it will provide "free broadband for all Kiwis".
Dotcom told Computerworld he wants to set up the new service in New Zealand because of its cheap and clean energy, which could also be a drawcard for foreign internet businesses.
"The new Mega based in New Zealand might be what's needed to make this thing happen."
He is also planning a new music service, Megabox, and both services will require fast connection speeds, which Dotcom says the trans-Pacific cable could offer.
He is proposing free access to overseas connections for residential customers, while business and government customers would be charged.
Dotcom has invited Mr Morgan and Mr Drury to his Coatesville mansion for a swim and to discuss Pacific Fibre.
Mr Drury tweeted that while he admired the Dotcom megacable plan, "there is a tiny flaw. US permission required to connect to USA", which could pose an issue with Dotcom facing extradition to the US on copyright and money laundering charges.
Mr Morgan said he had not yet spoken to Dotcom but wished him all the best for the cable plan.
Telecommunications Users Association chief executive Paul Brislen told Computerworld that Dotcom's influence might get potential investors behind the cable.
"If anyone could do it, it is him," he said.