Intelia New Zealand announced to build Te Waipounamu submarine cable, a new submarine cable project that will link Invercargill, New Zealand to both Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.

Te Waipounamu is named in reference to the Maori name of the South Island of New Zealand.

The Te Waipounamu cable system will span 3,000 km and consist of 16 fiber pairs:

  • 4 fiber pairs from Invercargill to Australia offering a total capacity of 120 Tbps, i.e., 30 Tbps per fiber pair.
  • 12 fiber pairs between Sydney and Melbourne allowing an alternative and very competitive backhauling option between the two largest cities of Australia with a total capacity of 35 Tbps per fiber pair.
TE WAIPOUNAMU cable map
TE WAIPOUNAMU CABLE MAP, IMAGE COURTESY: INTELIA

 

Intelia is a earlier venture founded by entrepreneur Rémi Galasso in 2005, prior to his successful trans-pacific Hawaiki Cable connecting New Zealand, Australia and the United States. In 2021, Hawaiki Cable was acquired by BW Digital Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of BW Group Limited. And Rémi quit from BW Digital in January 2023. 

The Te Waipounamu cable project is expected to cost NZD 160 million (US$97.4 million), to be funded by a mix of equity, debt and capacity contract commitments from major industry players both in Australia and New Zealand.

With an expected latency under 25 milliseconds, Te Waipounamu submarine cable will be the fastest high-capacity link between New Zealand and Australia, representing a significant advantage especially for Christchurch – the second largest city of New Zealand – and for Dunedin which has always been ahead of New Zealand digital development.

The Te Waipounamu cable is going to be a game changer for the connectivity of NZ South Island. It will also unlock the huge potential of Southland in term of sustainable data storage. 

The Te Waipounamu cable will also be a strategic infrastructure for New Zealand in terms of redundancy offering a perfect back-up solution to existing North Island submarine cables.

Intelia plans to finalize a supplier contract by April 2024 and start in parallel the permitting process in order to target a system commissioning by 2026.