Largest submarine cable between Australia and the US launches

Southern Cross Cables says its NEXT submarine network is the most capacious yet to connect Australia, New Zealand, Pacific islands, and the US.

While the distance covered is an impressive 15,840km, this is the third transpacific cable laid down by Southern Cross Cables (SX to its friends) which, as its name implies, specialises in this sort of thing. Having two such networks in its portfolio, the company chose NEXT as the name for the latest one. It’s hard to fault that as a descriptive label but it does beg the question of what a future fourth cable will be called. Next NEXT?

Anyway, technology has clearly advanced significantly since PREVIOUS and Previous PREVIOUS were unveiled, because NEXT apparently boosts the aggregate capacity of SX’s transpacific networks by 500%. This is thanks to a claimed record-breaking 400GbE service over such a long span. It took around two years to complete, with Ciena as the vendor partner, which is a good effort considering the amount of global chaos we had to endure over that time.

“The Southern Cross NEXT cable system is up and running, and the new technology and capability will support the rising demand for hyperscale bandwidth driven by cloud adoption and digitisation along with changing needs of our customers and the industry,” said Laurie Miller, CEO of SX.

“As part of our future strategy, not only is NEXT the first of the replacement cables for our existing systems when they retire in 2030, it also completes a trifecta for us. Southern Cross is currently the provider of the lowest latency routes between Sydney and Auckland, along with Auckland to Los Angeles, and will now add the lowest latency route between Sydney and Los Angeles to our portfolio.”

“With end-user digital applications continuing to proliferate, cable operators like Southern Cross need adaptive networks that can tackle ever-growing capacity demands yet remain reliable across long distances,” said Matthew Vesperman, MD for Ciena Australia and New Zealand. “As the first cable based on the open submarine cable model, the Southern Cross NEXT cable employs the latest advancements in submarine network performance and builds upon the foundation of available real-time capabilities provided by Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme.”

More great product naming there, while creating a similar dilemma about where they go from there. In these times of heightened geopolitical tension across the Pacific, it’s good to know there are plenty of telecoms cables connecting two of the region’s key players. Hopefully it will never come to that but if things ever do kick off with China, it’s vital that the telecoms world is able to keep on spinning


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