SIG and Huawei International signs historic Undersea Cable Pact

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Prime Minister Sogavare (C) flanked by Ministers and Top Officials from Huawei after the signing ceremony. Photo: George Herming/GCU

By STEPHEN DIISANGO

A NOTABLE Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to pave way to the long anticipated Submarine Fibre Optic Cable System (SFOCS) has been signed between the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) and the Huawei International today in Honiara.

During the Signing ceremony, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare assured Huawei International that the Government will ensure full support to the Cable Company to fulfil its obligations and success of the project and ready for service in quarter 1 of 2019.

Mr Sogavare says the signing today marks another benchmark between the government and Huawei International.

“This new venture by the SIG is described as best as looking towards the future,” he adds.

Mr Sogavare says he is proud that this venture will be the bedrock of increased connectivity of Solomon Islands to the Global Community.

“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.

“This is the future. This is our future,” Mr Sogavare says.

He adds that experiences in our 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 the 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,” PM Sogavare says.

Mr Sogavare says, “to this we must add 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 recognises the importance of this capability and gives its full support to the development of the system by Solomon 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 Telecommunications, 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.

“With this MOU both of us demonstrate our commitment to the further development of telecommunications services in the Solomon Islands,” he says.

Other documents signed today included the main turnkey contract for supply between the Solomon Submarine Cable and Huawei International.

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.