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25 August, 2016

AARNet and Southern Cross Cable Network boost trans-Pacific research network to 100G

The 100 Gbps upgrade to the Southern Cross Trans-Pacific Optical Research Testbed dual submarine optical fibre links connecting Sydney to North America is complete.

The 100 Gigabit per second (Gbps) upgrade to the Southern Cross Trans-Pacific Optical Research Testbed (SXTransPORT) dual submarine optical fibre links connecting Sydney to North America is complete.

The upgrade boosts bandwidth on both SXTransPORT links from 40 Gbps to 100 Gbps to accommodate the year-on-year growth of research and education traffic over the AARNet network. This traffic growth is driven by data-intensive science.

Networking to support data-intensive science

AARNet CEO Chris Hancock says this network infrastructure linking Australia to the United States and the global network of research and education networks is fundamental to Australia’s research infrastructure, underpinning much of Australia’s research efforts and innovation agenda.

“With research today increasingly collaborative, global and data-intensive, increasing the bandwidth of the SXTransPORT network ensures Australia continues to make significant contributions to global research endeavours, such as the Large Hadron Collider, the development of the Square Kilometre Array, the World Climate Research Program and important advances in the health and medical research sector,” he said.

AARNet’s long-term partnership with Southern Cross, together with funding from the United States National Science Foundation to the University of Hawaii, the Commonwealth and other entities, has evolved into a truly Pacific activity, integrating the New Zealand research network, REANNZ, and connecting one of the world’s most important international astronomy sites, Mauna Kea (Hawaii Island), as well as the international observatories on Haleakala (Maui), operated by the University of Hawaii.

Connecting isolated Pacific Island countries

The partnership has also secured broadband connectivity for several isolated Pacific Island countries, and notably for the University of the South Pacific campuses in Fiji, Tonga and the Marshall Islands. The South Pacific is a key region for observing climate changes, as well as oceanography, biodiversity and coral reef health. Connecting the Pacific Islands provides an opportunity to engage Pacific Islanders in a wide range of scientific and research initiatives in these fields of critical concern to their communities.

University of Hawaii President and CEO, David Lassner, a driving force behind United States funding and the collaborative work to connect the Pacific Islands, says the 100G upgrade to the network is another great milestone for research and education in the Pacific region.

“Working closely with colleagues at AARNet, Southern Cross and other collaborators, with the support of the National Science Foundation, has enabled Hawaii to participate in the continuing transformation of research and education through advanced broadband connectivity. Complex research that provides insights on the major challenges and opportunities the world faces must be increasingly interdisciplinary and international ” he said “and advanced networks like SXTransPORT are fundamental infrastructure for large-scale collaboration and enablement of the cyberinfrastructure that supports essential big data techniques.”

An enduring higher ed/industry partnership

Since 2003, Southern Cross Cable Network has provided the SXTransPORT in partnership with AARNet exclusively for not-for-profit research and education use. This has opened up opportunities for global collaboration that were previously unavailable to institutions in the Pacific region.

“Southern Cross is proud to be a long-term supporter of scientific and research endeavours through its partnership with AARNet. By extending the network to connect to REANNZ and Pacific Island Countries, the SXTransPORT project is an example of a truly exciting initiative in which all partners have worked together collaboratively to bring about great achievements for the region,” says Anthony Briscoe, President and CEO, Southern Cross Cable Network.


About AARNet

AARNet Pty Ltd (APL) is the not for profit company that operates Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet). The shareholders are 38 Australian universities and the CSIRO.

For more than 25 years, AARNet has provided ultra-high-quality regional, national and international broadband services to the Australian education and research sector, including universities, health and other research organisations, schools, vocational training providers and cultural institutions. By globally interconnecting like-minded collaborators, big data, innovative software tools and resources such as high performance computing, AARNet plays a vital role enabling the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

AARNet also provides a range of value-added network and collaboration services to support teaching, learning and research.

For more information, please visit AARNet at:

About Southern Cross Cable Network

Southern Cross Cable Network provides fast, direct, and secure international bandwidth from Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii to the heart of the Internet in the USA.

The Southern Cross Cable Network comprises two submarine communications cables which were first commissioned in November 2000 and January 2001 at a cost of USD1.3 billion. They provide Australasian broadband users with international connections to the US West coast where global Internet hubs are located. In 2001, total installed capacity was 80 Gbps, which has subsequently risen to 5.4Tbs of installed capacity today.

Latest technology trials have confirmed Southern Cross potential capacity of 14Tbs and beyond. The Southern Cross Cable Network is owned by Spark NZ (50%), Singtel-Optus (40%) and Verizon Business (10%).

Southern Cross Cable Network has offices in Bermuda, Sydney, Auckland and Wellington.

For more information, visit Southern Cross at:

Media Contacts:


Jane Gifford, Media & Communications Manager; +61 458 700213

Southern Cross Cable Network

Rosemay Foot, Media Manager; +64 4 496 3250