PM: Dotcom can invest in fibre if he wants

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 10:49 05/11/2012

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Millionaire Kim Dotcom would be putting his money where other investors wouldn't if he goes ahead with plans to relaunch Pacific Fibre, Prime Minister John Key says.

The ambitious broadband plan was begun by Trade Me founder Sam Morgan in 2010 and would have seen a 13,000 kilometre high-speed fibre-optic cable connecting New Zealand and Australia to California.

It was hoped that having a second cable would increase competition and drive down prices.

The company ceased operations in August after failing to find the required $400 million of funding.

Last week Dotcom tweeted that he was going to relaunch the plan.

Dotcom recently announced the launch of a new website after his Megaupload digital storage site was shut down by United States authorities.

He has been a thorn in the side of the Government over attempts to extradite him to the US.

Key told TVNZ's Breakfast programme that a lot of people had already tried to make the second cable work.

"It had a really star-studded cast of people who were prepared to be involved... in the end they couldn't come up with investors that thought it actually made sense."

The Government was prepared to underwrite a certain amount to help make the project financially viable.

Anything was possible, he said about Dotcom's plans.

"So you have to say, ok, well Kim Dotcom might but he'd be doing something that other investors didn't want to do."

Morgan said yesterday that he had not spoken to Dotcom but would be happy to.

"It is an extremely important piece of infrastructure. What we really need is a cornerstone investor with a couple of hundred million dollars."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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