Vocus to build subsea cables connecting PNG and Solomon Islands

Scores $136.6 million contract from government

DFAT deputy secretary Penny Williams and Vocus CEO Kevin Russell.

DFAT deputy secretary Penny Williams and Vocus CEO Kevin Russell.

Credit: DFAT/Nathan Fulton

The government has awarded Vocus a $136.6 million contract to build the Coral Sea Cable System.

The new cable system will connect Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands to Australia and will be majority funded by the Australian government.

“Australia's strong support for this project is a reflection of our enduring commitment to the Pacific, where we work with partners to support the region's stability, security and prosperity,” said a statement released by foreign minister Julie Bishop.

“Boosting connectivity in PNG and Solomon Islands will drive economic growth, and improve governance and security. World Bank research estimates improved internet access and connectivity could grow GDP by more than US$5 billion and create close to 300,000 new jobs in the Pacific by 2040.”

The Australian government funding is part of a push to block a subsidiary of Chinese company Huawei from rolling out a cable system connecting PNG and the Solomon Islands.

The Coral Sea Cable System is due to be completed by the end of 2019.

The cable will land at Port Moresby, Honiara and Sydney. Vocus will also roll out a domestic submarine network for the Solomon Islands.

“We are pleased to build on our strong relationship with the Federal Government and undertake this critical infrastructure project on their behalf. In this digital age, we all rely heavily on access to fast, reliable and affordable connectivity,” Vocus Group CEO Kevin Russell said.

“Extending this to our international neighbours for the first time will provide significant economic and social benefits.”

In early 2018 Vocus revealed it had won a government contract to conduct a scoping study for the new cable system.

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Tags governmentNetworkingTelecommunicationsVocusVocus GroupCoral Sea Cable System

More about AustraliaFederal GovernmentHuaweiSolomonWorld Bank

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