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Undersea cable to boost commercial activities

THE deal for the much awaited Fibre Optic Cable System that will offer faster and cheaper internet connectivity in the country come 2019 has been signed on Tuesday in Honiara.

Solomon Islands Government, Solomon Island Submarine Cable Company (SISCC) and Huawei International all signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU).

The deal will see the undersea cable linking Sydney to Honiara and then being distributed to the provinces.

The signing ceremony was held at the PMO’s conference room.

Prime Minister Manasseh Soagavare at the occasion dubbed this new venture as looking towards the future.

“I am proud that this venture will be the bedrock of increased connectivity of Solomon Islands to the global community in the years to come.

 “I am more than certain that this will boost commercial activities by allowing access to global markets through stable and high speed connectivity.

“Our women may be able to sell their handcrafts over the internet and so will our carvers,” he said.

“This is the future, this is our future,” he added.

He said, experiences in the region and worldwide clearly demonstrates the benefits to the overall economy of implementing submarine fibre connectivity.

“The government, business community and people of this country are looking forward to launch of the system which will significantly lower connectivity costs than what it is now.

“With this sustained economic improvement, our operators will be able to extend the range of their services and reduce pricing to consumers, as well as enabling advanced services to work more effectively, providing greater opportunity for our businesses,” Mr Sogavare said.

He expounded on the potential improvement to the lives of Solomon Islanders that will come with advances in areas such as tele-medicine, tele-learning and e-government.

“This government recognizes the importance of this capability and gives its full support to the development of the system by Solomon Islands submarine cable in order to see the system implemented by early 2019.

“The government is pleased to have a very reliable and capable partner for this undertaking.

“A global leader in telecommunication, I am pleased to know that Huawei international already play a very significant role in delivery of services to us today through the infrastructure already deployed in our operator’s networks,” Mr Sogavare said.

The PM hailed the project as a demonstration of commitment to the further development of telecommunications services in the Solomon Islands.

“I assure Huawei international that the government will ensure full support to the cable company to fulfill its obligation and success of the project and ready for service in quarter 1, 2019,” he said.

The deal was signed by Mr Sogavare, Minister of Finance and Treasury, Snyder Rini, Minister of Communications and Aviation, Peter Chanel and senior representatives of Huawei International.

The second signing ceremony feature the Turn Key main supply contract. This was signed by Board Co-Chairman Moses Virivolomo on behalf of the full Board and witnessed by Board Secretary, McKinnie Dentana and by Jacky Xu, CEO Huawei Technologies Pvt Ltd (PNG) and witnessed by David Wei, President, Huawei South Pacific Region.

The Turn Key supply contract is purposely for the deployment of the system between Huawei International Pte and SISCC to bring the contract into force and commence the very real work of the design, survey, manufacture, laying, and installation and commissioning of the system.

The SISCC is the company established to implement the submarine cable project and the shareholders in this company are the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (SINPF) and Investment Corporation of Solomon Islands (ICSI).

The system will comprise 2 optical fibre pair cable International link from Sydney to Honiara which will have a potential capacity of 2.5 Terrabits/s plus a domestic network linking Noro in the Western Province and Auki in Malaita Province with Honiara.

The system includes a Branching Unit in the International section for possible use by another regional operator in due course.

The total distance covered by the cable system is approximately 4000 km of which 3400km is the distance from Honiara to Sydney and the remaining 600km is the full length of the domestic network.

Solomon Submarine Cable will operate as a wholesale supplier of Internet and data capacity to Australia for all licensed operators in Solomon Islands.

It is anticipated to significantly improve reliability and reduce the cost of bandwidth to the operators from its launch, allowing them to grow their internet based businesses strongly.

The project duration is approximately 18 months and Solomon Submarine Cable anticipates opening service in the first quarter of 2019.