New Zealand bandwidth with US doubles as new Southern Cross cable comes online

The extra bandwidth is enough to stream 4.5 million concurrent Ultra HD 4k videos.
The extra bandwidth is enough to stream 4.5 million concurrent Ultra HD 4k videos. Photo credit: Getty Images

Aotearoa's internet bandwidth with the United States has nearly doubled with the launch of a new fibre cable connecting the countries.

Southern Cross Cables said its new Southern Cross NEXT fibre cable creates the largest submarine network connecting Australasia to the US, enhancing connectivity between the nations.

The capacity is being boosted by an additional 72 Terabits of data per second, enough for nearly every Kiwi to watch Ultra HD 4k videos simultaneously - over 4.5 million streams.

The demand for the hyperscale bandwidth has been driven by cloud adoption and digitisation, the company said.

The 15,840km long cable runs from Sydney to Los Angeles with links to Auckland, Fiji, Tokelau and Kiribati.

It's now the third route in the Southern Cross network ecosystem between Australasia and the US, and took just two years to complete despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Southern Cross Cables CEO Laurie Miller said the Southern Cross NEXT cable supports the company's continuing mission to enable reliable connectivity between the people and communities within Australasia and the rest of the world.

"Not only is NEXT the first of the replacement cables for our existing systems when they retire in 2030, it also completes the trifecta for us," he said.

"Southern Cross is currently the provider of the lowest latency routes between Sydney and Auckland, along with Auckland to Los Angeles, and will now add the lowest latency route between Sydney and Los Angeles to our portfolio.

"The cable will also be a game changer for the people and industries of Tokelau and Kiribati as it will provide the first direct fibre optic cable link to New Zealand."

Jolie Hodson, CEO at Spark, a founding shareholder of Southern Cross, said that the new cable offers a more diverse and resilient network for international connectivity, with the lower latency and massive bandwidth helping to take Aotearoa into the future. 

"The SX NEXT will improve resilience and boost international connectivity between on and offshore data centres, delivering the high capacity and low latency services so many customers need to power their businesses and operations," she said.

"We're excited to be able to offer this additional capacity to our wholesale customers and see this investment as an important enabler of the growth of emerging technologies like 5G and IoT [Internet of things]."