BY GEORGINA KEKEA
WORK on the undersea cable is progressing well. Currently a marine survey is being done by the EGS group of Companies to map out the precise route for the undersea cable from Australia to Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Solomon Islands.
Speaking to the media on Saturday, Prime Minister Rick Hou says this undertaking is a milestone achievement for the three-party agreement.
Hou said his government is optimistic the project will meet its deadline and is thankful to the Australian Government for the support.
“I have assurance from Australia’s new Prime Minister as well of this project,” Hou said.
At the same time, Australian High Commissioner, HE Roderick Brazier says the strong support by Australia for this project is a reflection of Australia’s commitment to the Pacific.
“This project has the potential to be truly transformative for Solomon Islands. It will deliver, faster and more reliable internet,” Brazier said.
He said the project is expected to complete by the end of 2019 and will have the capacity to provide internet service that is 30,000 times greater than to what it is now.
He said this will foster innovation as well as enable communities and businesses to grow.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Solomon Islands Submarine Cable Company, Keir Preedy says SISCC is in the process of signing Memorandum of Agreements with seafront owners for the landing points of the cables.
Preedy says mostly this will be business agreements with the owners. SISCC will build the necessary civil infrastructure and put necessary equipment in place to receive the cable and distribute it to internet retailers.
“We will sell to any licensed operator in Solomon Islands,” Preedy said.
The current marine survey is expected to take place till November this year (2018).
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.
Vocus is the telecommunication company that will manage the project.
Following the marine survey, manufacturing of the cable will take place, as well as manufacturing of the equipment before other necessary work is being carried out. The time frame for the project is till November 2019. The cable system will be supplied and installed by Alcatel Submarine Networks.
EGS group of Companies tasked to carry out the marine survey is an independent international group of marine survey companies. They have offices in Asia, Australia, Americas and the United Kingdom.