Company Proposes Installing Fiber Cable Connections In CNMI

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Docomo Pacific wants to link Saipan, Rota, Tinian to Guam

By Joel D. Pinaroc

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Aug. 27, 2015) – Docomo Pacific is eyeing to lay down a submarine cable for Saipan, Rota, and Tinian and has met with members of the CNMI Legislature about the project.

In a meeting Wednesday, Docomo officials and some members of the House of Representatives discussed the project, which involves a new submarine cable for the CNMI.

House Speaker Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan) said Docomo is not just eyeing a Saipan-to-Guam submarine cable but one that also connects Rota and Tinian.

But according to Docomo, the project can be costly, particularly the Rota and Tinian cable connection, Deleon Guerrero said.

"According to Docomo, the challenge for them is the Rota and Tinian connection. The cost of the project would go up by 60 percent," he said.

The lawmaker said legislators and CNMI government leaders "are now talking to see what we can do to lessen the costs, because we also need to have Rota and Tinian connected to that cable."

He said the government can perhaps offer tax incentives or tax breaks to Docomo.

"Maybe we can get some kind of a contract from the government, which is the biggest contractor in the CNMI," Deleon Guerrero said, adding that "we need more than one fiber optic cable."

Rep. Joseph Lee Pan Guerrero (R-Saipan) said the government can also help Docomo by "fast tracking the permitting process" for the service provider.

"We cannot have that submarine cable outage again. Up to now, banking institutions are still recovering from that outage, and some businesses are still hurting," Guerrero said.

The Senate earlier approved a resolution to assist Docomo with this project.

Senate Resolution 19-14 requests the assistance of the Office of the Governor in having the permit of Docomo Pacific "processed expeditiously so that Docomo Pacific can start its underground fiber optic network."

S.R. 19-14 cited the recent breakdown of a submarine cable between Saipan and Tinian that caused a massive communications outage.

Docomo Pacific earlier bared plans to "significantly upgrade its network" and one of the key components of the upgrade is placing a new undersea fiber cable between Guam and the Commonwealth.

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