BY MAVIS NISHIMURA P ODOKOLO
THE memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the funding of construction and installation of the Coral Sea Cable system has been signed in Brisbane on July 11, 2018 between Australia, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela announced this during a press conference with local journalists yesterday.
He explains that this latest signing is a follow-up to the one inked on June 11 in Sydney regarding the landing agreement between Australia and Solomon Islands.
PM Hou said the signing activates an essential milestone in the development of this important project.
“As most of you would know the Coral Sea cable system comprises four pairs of submarine cable fibres that will link Honiara and Port Moresby directly to Sydney.
“It provides a new auto fast telecommunication network of which is reported to be 40 thousand times faster than our current services in Solomon Islands.
“The four pairs of fibre are run as one cable from Sydney, so there will be two pairs, one pair will be running to Port Moresby somewhere from in the middle of the Coral Sea the four pairs will separate.
“Two pairs will be branching off to Port Moresby and two pairs will be running from there to Honiara,” he said.
Hou said each pair of fibre has the capacity of 10 terabytes; Solomon Islands and PNG will have 20 terabytes each, which is equivalent to 20 million megabytes each.
He said the economic life span of the cable is 25 years.
“As expected we should see the price or the cost of the telecommunication reduce when this project com into operation early in 2020.
“The signing now clears the way to plan, construct and install the new cable system,” he said.
Hou said Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has carried out the selection of the vendors to implement the project and is nearing completion. Once appointed the vendor will first undertake a desktop study on the routine of the capable.
He said they will first work on mapping out where the cable will be running.
Hou said from there the selected vendor will take a more detailed marine survey on the route to lay the cable.
Following that will be a more detailed study on how the cable will be placed at the bottom of the ocean.
“If there is any unnecessary Ascertain dangers and risks discovered it will be dealt with or either diverted.
“They will also ascertain the total length of the capable needed and once it is done orders is going to be made to the manufacturer to provide us an exact time frame as to when we expect landing in Honiara,” Hou said.
He adds once the mapping is done the cable will be manufactured and laid starting from Sydney.
Hou said the laying of the cable will not take more than two and half months. It is estimated to be completed either in October or November next year, with the internet service available in early 2020.
“The total cost of the cable is about Australian$176,864,624. Australia is paying for $130.3million for the international link from Sydney to Port Moresby in Honiara which Australia is going to pay 66.7 percent of that amount and that works out to be just about AUD$92 million. Papua New Guinea is going to be paying of just below AUD$19.7 million and similar amounts Solomon Islands will be paying.
“There is a further amount of more than AUS$45.5million for the Solomon Islands domestic center that is Honiara joining up with Auki, Noro and Taro which again Australia is going to pay 66.7 percent of the total and the which workers out to be just above AUS$31.8million and Solomon Islands will be paying AUS$13.8million of that amount.
“Once the cable is laid Solomon Islands will have both the international and the national circuits,” he said.