PAGO PAGO, 13 DECEMBER 2019 – Owners of the Southern Cross NEXT undersea fibre optic cable claim in a filing with federal regulators that its cable system will not only “enhance competition” but will “vigorously” compete with other cable systems, such as American Samoa Hawaii cable and Hawaiki cable, on the U.S-South Pacific routes.

Pacific Carriage Limited Inc. (PCLI) and Southern Cross Cables Limited (SCCL) — the applicants — filed an application with the U.S Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a license to land and operate within the U.S., a private fibre optic submarine cable network connecting Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tokelau, Kiribati, and California.

According to the applicants, the system known as Southern Cross NEXT, intends to commence commercial operation in the fourth calendar quarter of 2021. And it’s seeking timely grant of licensing no later than September 2020 in order to permit construction activities to proceed on schedule.

“An expeditious grant of this application will significantly advance the public interest in the following ways,” according to the application in which the FCC is seeking public comments. The system will consist of four fibre pairs on the main U.S-Australia trunk route, which will have a design capacity of 18 Tbps per fibre pair (and a total design capacity of 72 Tbps) using current technology.

It will also have six branches including Apia, Samoa landing at Vaivase Uta Road in Fagali’i.

“Southern Cross NEXT will enhance competition by competing vigorously with other submarine cable systems on U.S.-South Pacific routes,” according to the application, which cites several examples such as the U.S. Australia route in which it will compete with among others — the Hawaiki system, which connects Australia with American Samoa, Hawaii, and Oregon.

It will also “compete directly” with Hawaiki on the U.S-New Zealand route.

On the U.S.-Fiji route, Southern Cross NEXT will compete with the Tui Samoa Cable system, which connects Fiji with Samoa, with connectivity to Hawaii via the American Samoa Hawaii Cable (ASHC) and Samoa-American Samoa Cable (SASC), or the planned Manatua system (which will connect Samoa with French Polynesia) and the Honotua system (which connects French Polynesia with Hawaii), with onward connectivity via a variety of systems.

On the U.S.-Samoa route, Southern Cross NEXT will compete directly with the Hawaiki system, which connects American Samoa with Hawaii and Oregon, connecting with the SASC system to provide connectivity to Samoa as well; and the ASHC and SASC systems, which connect Samoa, American Samoa, and Hawaii, with onward connectivity on a variety of systems.

Samoa News reports that the American Samoan Government is the minority 33% owner of ASHC, while the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority, operates/owns the American Samoa branch unit of Hawaiki cable…. (PACNEWS)