In a statement, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Marise Payne, said: “The 4,700km undersea cable will deliver faster, more affordable and more reliable communications to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
“Australia is committed to supporting Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands to grow their economies sustainably, including by bridging the digital divide. Currently only around 11 percent of the population of these countries have access to the internet.
“This transformative project will bring significant economic and development benefits by opening new opportunities across a range of sectors.
“This includes providing a stronger enabling environment for tech enterprises and entrepreneurs, greater integration into the global marketplace, more opportunity for distance education learning courses and telemedicine training, increased participation of women in IT and the establishment of e-platforms to enable decentralised government service delivery in provincial locations.
“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,” she continued.
“The World Bank forecasts that improved internet access and connectivity could bring more than US$5 billion to the Pacific economy and create close to 300,000 new jobs by 2040.
“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 Coral Sea Cable System is on track for completion by December 2019.”
The three segments of cable that make up the Coral Sea Cable System were connected on July 23rd, 2019, by engineers aboard the Ile de Brehat.
The complex process of connecting the three cables is achieved through a device known as a Branching Unit (BU). To make the connection, the Ile de Brehat retrieved the previously laid segment of cable 910km offshore from Port Moresby in the Coral Sea.
Once the previously-laid cable was retrieved, it was then jointed aboard the Ile de Brehat to the cable segment that had just been laid from Honiara and to the end of the new cable segment that was just laid in Sydney.
(Picture: Coral Sea Cable System)