Cable changes nothing, yet

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Undersea cable
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Customers to wait until 2022 to get cheaper internet

By EDDIE OSIFELO

CUSTOMERS are expected to enjoy the full benefits of the Coral Sea cable which promises faster and cheaper internet – in two years’ time.

According to Australia, the Coral Sea Cable System is a 4,700km long fibre optic submarine cable system linking Sydney, Australia, to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and Honiara, Solomon Islands.

The project also includes a 730km submarine cable system connecting Honiara to Auki (Malaita Island), Noro (New Georgia Island) and Taro Island.

Currently, customers are still to see the reality of the faster and cheaper internet after the launching of the cable in February this year.

Haggai Arumae, Commissioner (Acting) of Telecommunication Commission Solomon Islands (TCSI) told Pacific Beat of Radio Australia that it will not have a massive change at the moment, I mean gradually.

Arumae said the operators have contract with satellite companies up to 2021, 2022, so they honour the agreements first.

“We will not expect much impact on the pricing reduction.

“We don’t expect to be cheaper in the shorter term, but maybe in the long run when all the traffic goes into the cable from all the operators when they sort of ended their contracts with the satellites. So hopefully in two years,” he said.

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The four main telecommunication operators in the country are Our Telekom, Bmobile-Vodafone and Satsol.

However, customers in Honiara, Auki and Noro have the change to watch internet on mobile phones through purchasing data from Our Telekom after it hooked up on the cable.

For the rest of the country, it will be a long wait until 2022 to experience the faster internet.

According to Pacific Beat, internet companies in Papua New Guinea still want to use the satellite because they get better prices from it.

As such they do not want to connect to the cable at the moment because of the high price generate by it.

The Solomon Islands Government had previously chosen Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Telecommunications to connect the cable from Sydney to Honiara.

However, the deal changed due to international security threat posed by Huawei if it establishes the cable.

In return, the Australia government agreed to pay nearly $137 million fibre optic cable in 2018 to connect the cable from Sydney to Honiara and Port Moresby.

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