South Pacific subsea cable given go-ahead

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The installation of an optical fibre submarine cable spanning the south Pacific has been approved at a crucial meeting of regional telecommunications leaders.

The Manatua One Polynesia Cable is designed to transform speed, capacity, resilience and affordability. The six landings will be in Tahiti and Bora Bora in French Polynesia, Rarotonga and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, Apia, Samoa and Niue. It is the first fibre connectivity to Niue and the Cook Islands. It was first initiated in April 2017 with the signing of an international treaty by the President of French Polynesia, the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, the Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa, and the Premier of the Government of Niue.

The cable is already in the region following manufacture by SubCom and transfer of the 3,700km cable from the delivery freighter Thorco Liva onto specialist cable laying vessel SubCom Reliance is currently under-way. Manatua Consortium executives from Office des Postes et Télécommunications (OPT) in French Polynesia; Avaroa Cable Limited (ACL) in the Cook Islands; Telecom Niue Limited (TNL) in Niue and Samoa Submarine Cable Company (SSCC) in the Independent State of Samoa, met in Apia to approve detailed installation plans. Cable-lay operations will commence in Samoa this month, continue in the Niue and Cook Islands in December, and finish in French Polynesia in January 2020.

Vairani Davio, joint chair of the Manatua Procurement Group and OPT’s chef de project telecom said: ‘The Manatua cable is a physical embodiment of the Polynesian leaders’ shared vision of a connected region, delivering reliable, high-capacity and affordable connectivity.  It will strengthen our cultural connections and create the foundation for our island’s digital transformation.’

Added Ranulf Scarbrough, Manatua consortium management committee joint chair and CEO of Avaroa Cable said: ‘The Manatua One Polynesia cable is the first collaboration of its kind, with four partners working together to achieve far more than they each could alone. It marks a new era of connectedness and collaboration for Polynesia.’

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