Pacific Fibre founders chip in

Last updated 05:00 13/06/2012

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The high-profile founders of Pacific Fibre have pumped more money into the company to buy it extra time to secure financial backers for its proposed US$400 million (NZ$518.1m) trans-Pacific communications cable.

The cable would connect New Zealand to the United States and Australia, providing competition to the Southern Cross Cable, which is half-owned by Telecom.

Chief executive Mark Rushworth said in April that the company hoped to raise the funding by "mid-June" and was 100 per cent confident it could be found. He said yesterday that he hoped to provide an update by the end of the month.

Pacific Fibre's shareholders include technology entrepreneurs Sam Morgan, Rod Drury, Sir Stephen Tindall and US venture capitalist Peter Thiel.

Drury said they had "put a bit of extra gas in the tank" during the past few weeks to ensure the business could keep going. He would not say how much they had contributed or how long the money would last.

Pacific Fibre had originally hoped to secure equity and debt funding for the cable by last November, but said then that the tough economic climate meant that deadline had proved impossible.

Drury said Rushworth was overseas, working hard on the project.

Telecommunications Users Association chief executive Paul Brislen said the more he talked to consumers and companies, the more he believed a new cable was "a big deal and we do need more of a competitive market for international capacity".

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