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Another trans-Pac fibre mooted

South Pacific Island Networks redux

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With wannabe pacific Pacific Fibre out of cash out of the game, a new group has re-emerged with a proposal to string a cable from from Australia and New Zealand to Hawaii, taking in a group of Pacific Islands along the way, rather than following the direct-to-US route proposed by the defunct Pacific Fibre.

The proposal for the Hawaiki Cable emerged during the Pacific Islands Forum, as reported by Scoop on August 30.

Hawaiki Cable's proposed route...

...recalls the SPIN cable first proposed in 2007

“In the works for about three years, the project has been unpublicised, but its designers are going public following the bankrupting of the Pacific Fibre project three weeks ago,” that report states.

The project bears an uncanny resemblance to an older proposal, the South Pacific Islands Network (SPIN). Not only does the Hawaiki proposal take in the same island nations as SPIN (with the addition of Australia and Hawaii), it also shares at least three executives with the 2007 proposal: SPIN’s CEO Rémi Galasso (CEO of Hawaiki), sales director Ludovic Hutier (sales director at SPIN), and CTO Virginie Frouin (also CTO of SPIN).

SPIN reportedly signed its build contract with Alcatel-Lucent in July 2009. Had it gone ahead, SPIN would have been in operation in 2011. According to Communications Day, finances killed the SPIN proposal, although sketchy French-language reports from 2010 refer to tension over the cable in New Caledonia after the election of the government led by Philippe Gomes.

The SPIN-redux proposes a design capacity of 8 Tbps, and if built would use optical add-drop multiplexer branching units to let it hand off lightwaves to destinations without pulling the whole cable to each landing point.

Hawaiki proposes terminations at Sydney, Auckland and Hawaii, with branching units that would support drop-offs at Norfolk Island, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Wallis, Samoa and American Samoa. ®

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