Business Day report that the government of New Zealand has welcomed an ambitious proposal by three of the country's highest-profile businessmen to build a $900 million submarine communications cable linking New Zealand, Australia and the United States. Trade Me founder Sam Morgan, The Warehouse founder Stephen Tindall and Xero founder Rod Drury are behind the venture, Pacific Fibre, which aims to break the near monopoly of the Telecom half-owned Southern Cross Cable over international internet traffic. They hope to lay a cable by 2013.
Communications Minister Steven Joyce said it was an exciting development. "It's good to see another potential player step up in the international bandwidth stakes. I look forward to the development of their business case."
Mr Drury said the cable was needed to prevent the country becoming a technological backwater.
"To us in the technology industry we are seeing this growing digital divide. We haven't got the Kindle yet, so you can't get information as quickly as Americans get it. It looks like we are not first on the list for the Apple iPad. You are seeing now this tangible digital divide and it is going to get big. We just have to do this."
The proposed cable could create a virtuous cycle, attracting skilled workers to New Zealand and growing the tax base, he said.
Mr Drury would not disclose how much of their own money the businessmen might invest. The cable would cost up to $900m. Pacific Fibre would need to raise the vast bulk of that from professional investors.
Read the complete article on the Business Day website here.