A team of specialist submarine cable experts have successfully laid the first section of the Tasman Global Access (TGA) undersea cable in Raglan.
The cable laying activities at Ngarunui Beach were completed on Friday April 8, with telecommunications companies Spark, Vodafone and Telstra investing approximately US$70 million to build the TGA cable, designed to significantly improve New Zealand’s international broadband connectivity.
Vodafone’s Wholesale Director, Steve Rieger says the 25 strong beach landing project team took one week to bury the three kilometre stretch of heavily armoured cable, which weighs roughly 22 tonnes.
“The team began by pulling the cable ashore from the specialised ship, the MV Tranquil Image,” he says.
“They then stripped a section of the steel armour back to uncover the four fibres inside, which are connected to the terminal station in Raglan and will be connected to Vodafone’s AquaLink cable.
“This cable already lands at the edge of Ngarunui Beach and will be used to carry TGA traffic to two locations in Auckland - one on the Spark network, and the other on Vodafone’s.”
Rieger says the team then excavated roughly 5000 square metres of sand and hard clay to bury the cable to a depth of about three metres beneath the sand.
“During this process, an articulated protective pipe weighing more than 16 kilograms per metre was applied to the cable for extra protection,” he explains.
“The remaining stretch of cable was buried to a depth of roughly one metre out into the ocean.”
Rieger says once in service, the benefits of the TGA cable will include strengthened links into fast-growing Asian markets, important redundancy and resiliency, and better connection with the five main international cable systems currently serving Australia.
“During the course of the Raglan shore-end cable lay experts from as far away as Greece worked alongside excavators and builders from the local Raglan community,” adds Lindsay Cowley, General Manager Wholesale and International, Spark.
“Together they have successfully completed the first phase of this important engineering project.
“The TGA project team collaborated with local Iwi, council and other groups to ensure this activity had no lasting impact on the environment, and we wish to once again thank the Raglan community for their support and understanding throughout the duration of the works.”
Cowley says the work in Raglan marks a “significant milestone” on the journey to having the TGA cable ready to start carrying data across the Tasman towards the end of 2016.
The TGA cable project is currently on track to be completed, tested and ready for service by the end of 2016 with the 2,300 kilometre length of cable comprising of two fibre pairs, and will have a total capacity of 20 terabits per second.