Solomon Islands Submarine Cable Capers

Solomon Islands Submarine Cable Capers

It’s been reported the Australian Government will be taking over and funding a high-speed subsea cable project between Australia and Solomon Islands, which will greatly enhance the Islands’ internet connectivity.

Solomon Islands broadband undersea cable Image: TUBS – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

In July last year we mentioned an undersea cable project connecting the Solomon Islands to Sydney was experiencing some challenges due to the involvement of Huawei, a company excluded from working on Australia’s NBN on the advice of ASIO.

While Huawei apparently had a contract in place for the Solomon Islands project, its ongoing involvement is now even more uncertain. Local company Vocus Group Limited recently inked an agreement with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade involving a scoping study for a submarine cable between Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Australia.

In November 2017, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill, agreed to the construction of  a new undersea high-speed telecommunications cable from Australia to Port Moresby; which will be funded primarily by Australia. A similar deal was offered to the Solomon Islands, reports the ABC.

The Vocus scoping study phase is expected to subsequently result in the rollout of a project on behalf of the Australian Government commencing sometime this year.

“The expertise we have gained from designing and developing the North-West Cable System and the Australia-Singapore Cable means that we have the team and the knowledge that can deliver the best outcome for Pacific Islands connectivity,” said Vocus CEO Geoff Horth.

Australia Singapore Cable Progress

In other recent news from Vocus, the company said last week it was currently upgrading its core domestic infrastructure in order to support early customer demand for Australia Singapore Cable (“ASC”) services. The local upgrade will deliver an additional 8TBps of capacity across Australia, predominantly between Perth, Sydney and Melbourne.

The Australia Singapore Cable (ASC) will run from Perth, Western Australia and have landing points in Jakarta, Indonesia and Tanah Merah, Singapore. The ASC will provide a minimum 40 Tbps (terabits per second) of capacity – nearly 42,000,000 Mbps.

In late November, Vocus said work on the USD $170m ASC project had passed the halfway mark. The project should be ready for service in July this year.

Vocus is among Lightning Broadband’s backhaul providers.

Hawaiki Transpacific Cable Update

While on the topic of undersea cable projects involving Australia, Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP recently announced more than half of the 15,000km of undersea fiber-optic cable making up the Hawaiki transpacific cable has been rolled out. The project, which will link Australia and New Zealand to Hawaii and mainland United States, will be ready for service in June 2018 and make 43 Tb of new capacity available to the market.

“Hawaiki will bring huge benefits to New Zealand in terms of greater connectivity to Australia and the US, security of supply, diversity and increased business opportunities for the Telecom and IT industries,” said Remi Galasso, CEO of Hawaiki.

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