Australia and New Zealand got a small step closer to a third Pacific crossing, with submarine cable upstart Hawaiki signing DRFortress in Hawaii to operate its landing station.
The on-again, off-again, on-again cable signed TE SubCom as its construction partner in 2013, but the project went into cold storage while the builders sought funding.
The project got sailing again in April this year with a $US300 million package from New Zealand telecommunications entrepreneur Malcolm Dick, Sir Eion Edgar and the company's CEO Remi Galasso.
Hawaii-based DRFortress will be responsible for operating the company's open access cable landing station in Kapolei, where Hawaiki has acquired land for the facility.
Connectivity between Australia/New Zealand and the US is a poorly-contested market, with only Southern Cross Cable Network and Telstra's Endeavour Cable offering a direct connection across the Pacific (the latter only carrying Telstra services).
Entering the market as a competitor is treated as a risky proposition, since the incumbents are in a position to cut prices to undermine newcomers.
New Zealand's REANNZ research network is important to Hawaiki, since its status as an anchor tenant for the cable should help the business case enough to get the cable past the startup phase. ®