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Submarine cable plan sinks without trace

Pacific Fibre folds as funders flee

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Pacific Fibre, a company formed to build a submarine cable linking the USA, New Zealand and Australia, has called it a day after failing to find the funds it needed to build the project.

“We believed funding for these long term infrastructure investments would have been more readily available and were confident the business case was solid,” said Chairman Sam Morgan. “We feel like we’ve done everything we can to succeed and we are all hugely disappointed that we have not managed to get there.”

The company says it has burned through “millions of shareholder funds” in its attempts to find cash for the project, but that neither New Zealanders or offshore investors were sufficiently interested in the project.

One of the project's aims was to bring more bandwidth to New Zealand, the company's home. Pacific Fibre executives warn that the company's failure makes New Zealand's investment in broadband, which is planned to reach 97.8% of the nation under the government's NZ$1.35 billion Ultra-Fast broadband policy, less likely to succeed as the cost of landing data in the nation remains high.

iiNet was an investor in the project at CTO John Lindsay told The Reg's Natalie Apostolou "We're disappointed to see Pacific Fibre shut their project down. It is always amazing to see submarine cables completed, when you consider the complexity of land access, marine permits, crossing other cables and under water infrastructure, putting delicate electronic and optical equipment under five kilometres of ocean, it's easy to forget that it also has to be funded for hundreds of millions of dollars."

"iiNet has always understood that this cable, like all proposed cables, had a risk that it would not be completed by 2014. We have more than sufficient capacity options available to ensure that this does not impact us. I look forward to seeing what project Mark Rushworth does next. I'm sure it will be exciting." ®

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