Niue and the Cook Islands are set to get their first submarine optic fibre connections following a meeting of regional telecommunications leaders approving the final stages of planning for the installation of the Manatua – One Polynesia Cable.
Representatives of members of the consortium building the cable — the 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) — met in Apia last week to approve detailed installation plans.
The cable will have six landings: in Tahiti and Bora Bora in French Polynesia, Rarotonga and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, Apia, Samoa and Niue.
The cable is being funded with a $NZ15m grant from the New Zealand Government, $US15m loan funding from the Asian Development Bank and from the Cook Islands Government.
The project was 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 has been manufactured in the US by SubCom, which won the tender for its production in 2018. Cable laying is due to start in Samoa in November, Niue and Cook Islands in December, and finish in French Polynesia in January 2020. It is due to come into service in June 2020.
Dr Ranulf Scarbrough, Manatua Consortium management committee joint-chair and CEO of Avaroa Cable said the project represented 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.”
However, as Computerworld reported in August, doubts have been expressed that the system represents the ideal solution for the Cook Islands.