Cooks PM In New Zealand For Submarine Cable Talks

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Other countries look at possibility of connecting to Moana Cable

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Jan. 30, 2016) – Prime Minister Henry Puna will be in New Zealand next week, joining a sub-regional gathering of Pacific leaders to discuss the prospects of connectivity to a broadband submarine cable.

The meeting is an initiative of the Government of New Zealand and will involve the leaders of the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Niue, and Tokelau, says the PM’s advisor, Trevor Pitt.

The Prime Minister will be accompanied by Minister of Telecommunications Mark Brown, and officials.

New Zealand is meeting the travel costs of the PM, Brown and one official. Pitt said the Cook Islands has had a keen interest in submarine cable developments for internet communications, and had considered various options over recent years.

A small team of New Zealand consultants conducted an advance visit to Rarotonga last week and held talks with a number of parties, including the private sector.

Other parties of interest, including the Asian Development Bank, will also be present at the discussions.

Pitt said he did not know whether the talks involved the Bluesky/Lucent project to build what is known as the Moana Cable, which will connect New Zealand to Hawaii through Samoa and American Samoa, while also linking the Cook Islands to the Samoa hub. However as Bluesky representatives will be present at the meeting, this seems most likely.

Efforts to obtain further information from Bluesky Cook Islands country manager Phillip Henderson were unsuccessful.

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