'Free broadband for all Kiwis!': Kim Dotcom seeks to save sunken submarine cable plan

Kim Dotcom (Reuters / Mark Coote)
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom’s rebooted file-sharing site “Mega” has a problem: New Zealand only has one transpacific fiber cable network to carry all that new traffic. His solution: build a new one.

The plan itself is of course not new, as New Zealand-based Pacific Fibre hoped to build the 7,920 mile, $350 million international internet link by 2014.

Having failed to secure the necessary funds, the project sunk, Pacific Fibre folded, and the Telecommunications Users Association called it “tragic news for the New Zealand market.”

Dotcom for his part believed Pacific Fibre was important to help turn New Zealand into a digital-based company, tweeting on Friday:

/
/

Dotcom’s mega submarine cable ambitions would double New Zealand’s bandwidth, and while broadband might not be absolutely free, prices would drop significantly.

"Because ISP's control the last mile and provide equipment like routers they would still charge a fee but it could be as low as 15% – 20% of current bandwidth plans with three to five times faster connection speeds and without transfer limits," Dotcom told New Zealand’s One News.

His motives are not entirely charitable however. With Megaupload’s successor Me.ga is set to go online on January 20 – the one year anniversary of the seizure of Megaupload – Dotcom told Computerworld a second undersea cable network would be essential to service millions of users around the world.

Me.ga is a subscriber-based cloud platform which enables users to upload, store, access, and share large files. Unlike Megaupload, those files will be encrypted with a key accessible by users but not Me.ga itself, putting access to the uploaded content out of the company’s hands.

Dotcom – a German national who holds New Zealand residency – says he plans to raise money domestically as well as through his new Me.ga company, which would also be the biggest customer on the cable.

Me.ga will not only create jobs in New Zealand via a proposed data center to handle all that new traffic, it will bring in revenue in from abroad.

/
/

He also suggested the project could be funded by suing Hollywood studios and the US Government for their "unlawful and political destruction of my business,"The New Zealand Herald cites him as saying.

Pacific Fibre's Mr Drury tweeted his support for the plan, although there is one potentially insurmountable hurdle to set up a cable running between Auckland, Sydney and Los Angeles: “US permission required to connect to USA".

Dotcom is facing internet piracy and money laundering charges in the US. He faces an extradition hearing in March.