Solomons Considers $68 Million Submarine Cable Project

High speed fiber to connect Western, Malaita provinces to Honiara

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 20, 2016) – The government is still to make a decision on the proposed new submarine cable project that will land in Honiara and connect to Noro in Western province and Auki in Malaita.

Ministry of Communication and Aviation permanent secretary, Moses Virivolomo said the project was a bit slow because of its technicality.

Mr Virivolomo said this when he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament on Wednesday.

He said there is a technical committee that will look into the option that government will purchase old and new cable or used cable for the project.

Furthermore, Mr Virivolomo said the committee will also advised cabinet on who will give the money for the project.

He said Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Cook Islands have also experienced slow start in this fiber project when they introduce it in their countries.

Solomon Oceanic Cable Company (SOCC), which is co-owned by Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (SINPF) and Solomon Telekom (Our Telekom), is managing the project.

The total cost, including financing cost, civil works, supporting studies, legal costs, project management costs and contingencies, is expected to be in the range of USD$68 million.

The funding approach being adopted is a public/private partnership (PPP) model. ‘Funding is being provided in the form of equity by SINPF (51% shareholder) and Our Telekom (49%),Asian Development Bank via support in the form of grants and sovereign debt through the Solomon Islands Government, and private debt funding from the ANZ bank and the PSOD (the investment banking arm of the ADB).

Under SOCC’s supervision, an international cable will be developed landing in Honiara West, while a further two domestic cables will run from Honiara West to Noro, and to Auki.

At each landing point, some new ducts will be required to carry the cable to where it can link to existing Telekom ducts.

The project will include three landing stations, at Honiara West, Auki and Noro.

Solomon Star
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