By Richard van der Draay, Telecom Times

Southern Cross Cables has teamed with Hong Kong-based marine survey specialist EGS to survey the seafloor between Clovelly to Los Angeles, establishing the most suitable route for the US$350 million Southern Cross low latency 'NEXT' submarine cable.

According to Southern Cross Cables - which is owned by Telecom NZ (50%), Singtel-Optus (40%) and Verizon Business (10%) - the project will provide the highest capacity internet link for Australians using US-based Internet applications.

Telecom Times took an in-depth look around Geo Resolution's EGS survey vessel, ahead of its voyage to scope out the course of the planned sub cable linking Sydney to Los Angeles. The Geo Resolution will start work later this month, tracking  some 12,500 kilometres of ocean floor from Clovelly in Sydney to Los Angeles, while also linking up Auckland and New Zealand along the way.

The NEXT project is Southern Cross Cables' third high capacity link, slated for completion in 2019. "A typical project like this generally can take about a year to complete," Southern Cross Cable Network CEO Anthony Briscoe told Telecom Times.

Under the deal, EGS will survey the sea bed to enable the planned cable connection to traverse vast abysses such as the Tonga Trench the second-deepest point on Earth at a depth of 10,882m, treacherous terrain and the odd shipwreck. An EGS spokesman said the surveying contract would most likely take some six months to finalise, noting that uniquely, the firm is able to draft a survey report even before returning to port.

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