Pacific Fibre folds
Wednesday 1 Aug 2012 3:10 p.m.
The hope of another cable linking the South Pacific to the United States has faded
By 3 News online staff/NZN
The Kiwi tycoons looking to build a trans-Pacific communications cable linking New Zealand and Australia to the United States have given up, citing financial issues.
TradeMe founder Sam Morgan, The Warehouse founder Stephen Tindall and software entrepreneur Rod Drury were members of Pacific Fibre, a company set up in 2010 for the project.
They wanted to build a 13,000 km cable which would have linked Auckland, Sydney and Los Angeles. It was to compete with an existing cable, the Southern Cross Cable, of which 55 percent is owned by Telecom.
Mr Morgan, who chairs the company, said the group failed to raise the $490 million needed to install the cable, which he admitted was an “audacious” project.
"We've spent millions of shareholder funds trying to get this done and despite getting some good investor support we have not been able to find the level of investment required in New Zealand initially and more broadly offshore,” he said.
“We feel like we've done everything we can to succeed and we are all hugely disappointed that we have not managed to get there."
Mr Morgan later took to Twitter to voice his disappointment, saying Pacific Fibre was "always going to be tough" but he feels they gave it "a bloody good try".
Fellow Pacific Fibre backer Rod Dury said the high cost of broadband was not a technical problem but a case of market failure.
"We still cannot see how the government's investment in UFB (ultrafast broadband) makes sense until the price of international bandwidth is greatly reduced."
The Pacific Fibre cable would have potentially reduced the cost of broadband in New Zealand and offered competition to the bandwidth combing the country.