Southern Cross NEXT

Southern Cross NEXT

Pioneer Consulting provided a full breadth of services for the entire project’s development lifecycle from market and business case analysis to procurement, project management, and quality assurance. The NEXT submarine cable system is the most advanced and lowest-latency route connecting Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

Project Overview

A top-tier operator, Southern Cross Cable Network owns a network ecosystem that includes 12 cable stations and 8 major datacenter hubs in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. This network spans six countries and eight time zones to connect over 45,000 km of cable – greater than the earth’s circumference.

After more than 15 years of successful operations with its first cable system which was deployed in 1998, Southern Cross embarked on a new journey to connect Sydney, Auckland, and Los Angeles with a modern trunk and branch cable system capable of providing 72 Tbit/s of capacity, while also bringing connectivity to Fiji, Tokelau, and Kiribati through branch cables off the trunk.

To help analyze the business case, as well as design, procure, and construct the 15,857 km cable system, Southern Cross brought Pioneer onboard to support several stages of NEXT’s project development lifecycle.


Development of a submarine cable system typically takes 3 to 5 years and requires a multifaceted project team to accomplish several key milestones. However, the operation of such a cable system typically lasts for 15 to 30 years.

As a result, many companies which have expertise in operations will seek multiple third-party organizations to provide transitory, targeted expertise during various development and construction stages of a new project. This can be costly, difficult to manage, and cumbersome.

To minimize risk while maximizing project efficiency, Southern Cross sought a consulting firm that had in-house project development expertise but could also provide a flexible partnering approach that could be adaptable as and when the project progressed through its various development phases.


To supplement the company’s operational experience and to obtain an independent analysis of the proposed NEXT cable, Southern Cross initially contracted Pioneer for a detailed market demand, pricing, and competition analysis which produced input for a detailed financial model. After yielding promising results, Southern Cross invited Pioneer to present its findings to its Board of Directors.

Upon approval of the business case, Southern Cross retained Pioneer to assist with the procurement, adjudication, and contracting of the marine survey contractor and primary supply contractor (which were procured separately).

Finally, upon achieving successful financial close, Southern Cross again retained Pioneer to help manage the 3+ years of project construction, focusing on quality assurance, project
management, and executive strategy.


Utilizing its global expertise, Pioneer guided Southern Cross through each step of NEXT’s development, providing flexible, dynamic support that evolved with the demands and stages of the project’s development. In summary, Pioneer provided:

  • Market and business case analysis
  • Procurement, adjudication, and contracting support
  • Project management
  • Marine engineering & oversight
  • Technical engineering & oversight
  • Quality assurance with factory audits
  • Client representation onboard various installation vessels
  • Commissioning & acceptance oversight
  • Executive strategy

Through Pioneer’s dynamic support and guidance, the NEXT cable system successfully entered commercial service in July 2022. The project was unique in that it encompassed nearly all of Pioneer’s expert services, demonstrating the company’s ability to assist in turning a cable idea into a reality.

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