Southern Cross taps Pioneer Consulting for NEXT subsea cable system

Created February 17, 2021
News and Business

Submarine fibre optic telecommunications consulting and project management company Pioneer Consulting, has been awarded the shipboard representation contract for Southern Cross NEXT, the in-progress 13,494 km trans-Pacific submarine cable system connecting Sydney, Auckland, and Los Angeles, with branches linking Fiji, Tokelau, and Kiribati.

As shipboard representatives, Pioneer Consulting experts will supervise cable loading, freighter transfer, laying operations, post-lay inspection and burial, shore-end landings, and several project management tasks. Additionally, Pioneer Consulting supports Southern Cross in a comprehensive senior consulting capacity, which has included duties such as market analysis, survey oversight, route engineering, turn-key procurement and contract review, contractor coordination, COVID-19 risk analysis, project management, manufacturing audits, and quality assurance.

“It is an honour to continue our long-standing relationship with Southern Cross and provide shipboard representation for the laying of its planned NEXT cable system,” said Gavin Tully, Managing Partner at Pioneer Consulting. “This is a pivotal project that will enhance the communications capabilities and performance of multiple nations. It is also a complex and detailed engineering and logistical endeavour, and we could not be more excited to take such an active role in the cable-laying process.”

“Planning and building a submarine cable of the scale of the NEXT system is a highly complex project,” said Craige Sloots, director of marketing and sales at Southern Cross Cable Network. “It takes a team effort. Pioneer Consulting has been our prime consultant on the NEXT project from the very beginning, and we welcome further partnering with their team to see the project through to the end. Pioneer brings a depth and breadth of knowledge and experience, from the market study and technical design, to route surveying, to COVID protocols. Our history with Pioneer makes it easy to feel confident in their ability to manage shipboard representation.”

With system completion expected in early 2022, the US$350 million Southern Cross NEXT cable will provide 72Tb/s of capacity and will be the largest and lowest latency submarine cable system ever built between Sydney and Los Angeles. The Southern Cross NEXT solution includes Alcatel Submarine Networks’ WSS ROADM units and the latest generation of subsea repeaters and is designed to be adaptable to future technology developments.

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This article was written
by Peter Dykes

Peter Dykes is a independent telecoms and technology journalist who has over that last 30 years written for a wide range of B2B publications and companies. A former BT engineer, he specialises in networks and associated support systems. He is currently Editor of Optical Connections.