In July 2018, the world’s newest submarine internet cable opened for business. The 15,000 kilometre umbilical cord links New Zealand with the US, Australia and the Pacific Islands. REANNZ members are among the first to benefit from this ultra-high-speed connection.
With a blistering design capacity of 43.8 Tbps (terabytes per second), the Hawaiki Cable is built for speed – just what New Zealand’s research and academic community needs. Being able to transfer vast amounts of research data to colleagues offshore, with minimal downtime and packet loss, is of the essence. Hawaiki fits the bill perfectly.
REANNZ’s history with the Hawaiki Cable goes back some years. A NZ$65 million contract, providing REANNZ with 25 years of capacity on the cable, was signed back in 2014. Now, after years of planning and construction, the Hawaiki Cable is REANNZ’s primary international bandwidth provider.
All REANNZ members have been migrated over to Hawaiki. They are benefiting from 20 Gbps connectivity to mainland US and Australia. This will increase to 2 Tbps over the duration of the contract.
Led by a team of specialists from US firm TE SubCom, the Hawaiki build was a feat of administration and engineering, par excellence. Traversing 12 exclusive economic zones, a battery of permits, easements, resource consents and licences was required before construction could begin.
Two state-of-the-art ships then spent six months laying the Hawaiki Cable onto the ocean floor. The cable contains so much fibre that if stretched out as a single strand it would loop twice around the equator.
The Hawaiki Cable lands at Mangawhai in Northland. From there, it connects to REANNZ’s North Shore and central Auckland network points of presence (PoPs), courtesy of backhaul contracts negotiated with local telecommunication companies Vodafone and Chorus. The US landing point is at Oregon in the Pacific North West. In total, there are five Pacific landing points, encompassing a population of over 350 million people.
REANNZ’s investment in the Hawaiki Cable not only gives members from across the research community access to one of the newest, most advanced submarine cable systems in the world, it has also helped stimulate the entry of a much-needed second international cable provider for New Zealand.
For years, New Zealand’s only direct submarine link to the US was via the Southern Cross Cable. The entry of Hawaiki is a game changer in improving the resilience of New Zealand’s internet connectivity with the global community.