INDEPENDENT NEWS

Telecom Switches On Cook Strait Cable

Published: Thu 19 Jul 2001 03:27 PM
TELECOM SWITCHES ON COOK STRAIT CABLE
Telecom today switched on its new Cook Strait Cable, turning on better and more reliable communications and online services for hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders.
The $30 million cable is one of Telecom’s biggest single investments in infrastructure in recent history.
The Cook Strait Cable is the only telecommunications cable linking the North and South Islands that has been deliberately diverted away from Wellington to avoid earthquake and other risks.
The cable went live when Communications Minister Paul Swain flicked the switch at Horowhenua College, Levin.
A special videoconference, using the cable, linked Horowhenua College and Nelson College for the opening ceremony. The technology came alive for students at both colleges who worked together, via the cable, to create a virtual interactive classroom collaborating on digital and web-based activities.
Simon Moutter, Group General Manager Network, said the 200-kilometre cable was a significant enhancement to the backbone telecommunications network New Zealand needed for a knowledge economy.
The Cook Strait Cable is part of a three stage $38 million project. The second stage is a new cable across the South Island between Greymouth and Christchurch, which is being laid now, and the final stage will be reconfiguring the network.
Mr Moutter said the project was part of Telecom’s ongoing programme to enhance its national network and give Telecom customers access to the best service available in New Zealand.
The Cook Strait Cable has a carrying capacity of up to 3.2 terrabits a second.
“That’s enough to enable everyone in the South Island to watch a separate high quality digital video channel at the same time,” Mr Moutter said. “Or in telephone terms, enough for 15 million simultaneous phone calls.”
“Dependence on our infrastructure is always increasing, particularly with more and more New Zealanders going online for business and home applications,” he said.
“This new cable delivers high quality and huge bandwidth and that means South Island businesses and residential customers will be able to tap into advanced information technologies.”
Telecom's Cook Strait Cable combines with the new Southern Cross Cable to deliver a state of the art robust, high capacity service inside New Zealand, and between New Zealand and the rest of the world.
Mr Moutter said today’s launch illustrated the potential of the new cable, in an educational environment.
“We’ve got two groups of students who have never met before, who are in different parts of the country working together as if they were in the same room thanks to high speed, high bandwidth connections,” he said.
Mr Moutter said switching on the cable marked the completion of an important project in Telecom’s history, and the beginning of even better and more reliable services for customers.
More information on the project can be found at Telecom’s website: http://www2.telecom.co.nz/cable/index.html

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