28 Aug 2019

Coral Sea Cable lands in Sydney

2:57 pm on 28 August 2019

A fibre optic cable linking Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands to Australia is being laid on a Sydney beach this morning.

Today's landing of the 4700-kilometre long cable at Tamarama Beach will be / has been overseen in a ceremony attended by Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne.

It marks the completion of the main international link of the Coral Sea Cable which connects the Melanesian countries to Australia's cable fibre network.

Currently only around 11 percent of the population of these countries have access to the internet.

The cable is expected to deliver faster, cheaper and more reliable communications infrastructure to the Solomons and PNG from later this year.

Diplomats from both countries are also observing the landing in Sydney.

Australian company Vocus Communications began installation of the submarine cable, which was manufactured in France, in June.

Ms Payne's office said the cable was scheduled to be ready for service in December.

Australia decided to finance the cable in 2018 after security concerns were raised about Chinese company Huawei, which was initially contracted to build the project.

Australia is also supporting improvements to internet regulation and cyber security in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, to ensure the benefits of the cable are fully realised, according to Ms Payne's office.

Australia has provided the majority of the funding, with the Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands Governments jointly contributing one third of project costs.

With the Australian landing completed today, the cable laying ship Ile de Brehat will soon return to Solomon Islands to lay a separate 730km submarine cable linking Honiara to the provincial centres of Auki, Noro and Taro.

The World Bank forecasted that improved internet access and connectivity could bring more than $US5 billion to the Pacific economy and create close to 300,000 new jobs by 2040.