Intelia is planning a new subsea cable connecting the southern island of New Zealand to Australia.

“Intelia New Zealand today announced a new submarine cable project that will link Invercargill to both Sydney and Melbourne. The project is called Te Waipounamu submarine cable, in reference to the Maori name of the South Island of New Zealand,” data center and cable entrepreneur Rémi Galasso announced on LinkedIn this week.

– Intelia

The 3,000 km system will include a total of 16 fiber pairs; 4 fiber pairs from Invercargill to Australia offering a total capacity of 120 Tbps, and 2 fiber pairs between Sydney and Melbourne with a total capacity of 35 Tbps per fiber pair.

“Te Waipounamu cable is going to be a game changer for the connectivity of NZ South Island. It will also unlock the huge potential of Southland in term of sustainable data storage. It’s a fantastic challenge for our team and we are proud to continue contributing to New Zealand digital development” said Galasso, founder of Intelia NZ.

The company aims to finalize a supplier contract by April 2024 and commission the cable by 2026

“Te Waipounamu cable represents a significant investment of NZD 160 million (US$97.4m) that will be funded by a mix of equity, debt, and capacity contract commitments from major industry players both in Australia and New Zealand” added Perrine Dhalluin, director at Intelia NZ.

Invercargill is the site of a planned hyperscale data center from Galasso. First announced in December 2020, Datagrid – founded by Hawaiki Cable founder Galasso alongside Callplus founder Malcolm Dick – aims to develop a large data center on New Zealand’s South Island.

Partnering with Meridian Energy, the facility will be the first hyperscale data center in the area. It will draw energy from the Manapouri hydropower scheme, which is due to have a large surplus once the Rio Tinto smelting facility at Tiwai Point closes in 2024. The University of Otago is set to be an anchor tenant of the facility.

Datagrid bought a 43-hectare site in January 2022. The company aims to build up to ten 6,500 sqm (70,000 sq ft) 10MW modules totaling 65,000 sqm.

Perrine Dhalluin was appointed CEO of DataGrid in late 2023.

“What a fabulous economic, social, and technological development opportunity for New Zealand and Southland,” Dhalluin said of the new cable. “Te Waipounamu brings the data resilience the country needs and makes Invercargill an ideal new regional site for sustainable data storage.”

The Hawaiki Nui cable from BW Digital is set to connect Invercargill to New Zealand’s north island, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, and the US. It is set to go live in 2026.