The world is more connected now more than ever

Southern Cross NEXT (SX NEXT), a new single span cable system connecting Los Angeles and Sydney with diversity and reliability

February 10, 2022

3 min read

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We’re experiencing an exponential increase in bandwidth consumption – driven by technology trends like cloud adoption and digitisation – and it’s a trend we don’t see slowing down in the future. Thanks to the rise of cloud-based services and hybrid remote working models brought in by the pandemic, connectivity with diversity and reliability becomes more critical than ever. Connecting places and people to each other is only possible with the right infrastructure. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce a new subsea cable – called Southern Cross NEXT or SX NEXT – which will be instrumental in connecting Australia and the United States, with branching units to New Zealand, Fiji, Kiribati, and Tokelau. SX NEXT complements the existing Southern Cross and Telstra Endeavour–AAG cable systems in connecting Australia and the US. Along with Telstra’s subsea network infrastructure – the largest in the Asia-Pacific region –SX NEXT strengthens our commitment to connect people and communities from Australia and the Pacific Islands to the US and the rest of the world.

Wider, more reliable connectivity in the Asia-Pacific and beyond

One of the most important lessons the world learned during the pandemic is the need for connectivity, and how critical it is in many facets of day-to-day life. COVID-19 also brought to light the digital divide between countries – a gap that subsea cables can play a key role in bridging. However, subsea cables are capital-intensive and procedurally complex projects, which means that many places – particularly in some South Pacific Islands – have to wait for decades to connect through submarine cables.

“Achieving digital self-reliance is now possible for our fellow digital citizens in this part of the world,” said Andrew Hankins, Head of Architecture and Strategic Engineering, Telstra. “It is our purpose to build a connected future where everyone can thrive – with our experience and expertise in managing and operating subsea cables.”

Once live, SX NEXT will be the first single-span express cable to connect Australia to the US, and the direct cable to connect Sydney and Los Angeles. It will be a four-fibre pair cable system capable of transporting 72Tbps, a remarkable addition to the current bandwidth connecting Australia and South Pacific Islands to the US. SX NEXT is built using up to 400G DWDM technology and purpose-built landing stations.

With a proudly Australian heritage and an expanding, long-standing international business, Telstra’s sprawling global network includes more than 26 cable systems spanning over 400,000 km, access to multiple cable landing stations, and more than 2,000 Points of Presence (PoPs) across the world. Telstra has been awarded for Best Subsea Innovation, as well as Best Subsea Cable Operator in 2021.

“We feel proud to be part of building subsea cable infrastructure spanning mighty oceans, which links continents and people around the world,” said Andrew Hankins, Head of Architecture and Strategic Engineering, Telstra. “Our partnership with Southern Cross Cables Limited (SCCL) will create a seamless, efficient path from Australia into the Asia-Pacific, the US, and beyond. High-capacity, super-fast, and resilient network infrastructure will definitely be a possibility for the South Pacific region by mid-2022 thanks to SX NEXT.”

Since its inception in 2000, Southern Cross has been a major partner for Telstra when it comes to linking different countries and territories globally. At present, Telstra is a 25% shareholder. SX NEXT will commence operations with the submarine capability of up to 400G DWDM technology. It will include landings in the Pacific Islands of Fiji, Tokelau, and Kiribati, where other cables land or are planned to land to provide wider connectivity in the near future.

Discover Telstra’s extensive subsea network and global connectivity solutions today.