Vocus wins deal to deliver PNG-Solomon Islands cable
Vocus Communications has won a $136.6 million contract to manage the construction of a high-speed undersea internet cable linking Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands with Australia.
The Coral Sea Cable System will be majority co-funded by the Australian Government from its overseas development assistance fund, with financial contribution from both countries. It is scheduled for completion by the end of next year.
As part of the deal, Vocus will also deploy a domestic subsea cable network in the Soloman Islands, reducing the nation’s reliance on satellite services, which have proved insufficient to meet the nation’s broadband demand.
Vocus has announced it will deliver a cable utilising multiterabit technology to improve international connectivity to both nations.
The government is thought to be funding the cable because of concerns that an earlier cable project, which would have involved a cable only linking the Solomon Islands to Australia and funded by the Solomon Island Submarine Cable Company (SISCC), had been awarded to Chinese equipment vendor Huawei.
Huawei has already been barred from participating in the nbn rollout due to concerns its participation may expose Australian communications to surveillance by the Chinese government. Reports indicate that lawmakers were worried that Huawei’s potential involvement in an international cable connecting to Australia represented a similar security red flag.
But Huawei has repeatedly denied any ties to the Chinese government and there has been no evidence that its equipment has been used to provide backdoor access.
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