The first fibreoptic submarine cable connection for the Cook Islands has landed.
Helped by local boats, skippers and crew, engineers brought the Manatua cable ashore on Aitutaki, cable ashore in a complex and skilled operation that began at 5am and ended after 7.30pm.
A ceremony to mark the historic occasion on the island on Sunday morning was attended by Prime Minister Henry Puna and DPM Mark Brown.
Puna described it as “an historic moment.”
“The Manatua cable will underpin a transformation in the connectivity of our nation, starting right here in Aitutaki. Together with the new Telecommunications Act and Competition Act, we have laid the foundations for a new era of affordable, reliable, resilient and fast connections.
“These will supercharge the way Cook Islanders, and our visitors, live, work and learn. This is a very complex project and I am proud to see the professionalism with which it is being executed with Cook Islanders at the very heart of the work.”
Avaroa Cable Ltd chief executive and vice-chairman of the Manatua Cable Consortium, Ranulf Scarbrough, paid tribute to the engineers, operators, technicians and technologists that had worked with ACL to bring this fibre optic connectivity to Aitutaki.
“It was a challenging operation and one executed with the utmost skill. This landing in Aitutaki marks the halfway point in the construction of the Manatua One Polynesia Cable and so far, it is going incredibly well.
“We are confident that we will deliver a fantastic system that will transform Polynesian connectivity for many years to come.”
Aitutaki is the third landing of the Manatua One Polynesia cable system and follows landings in Samoa, and Niue. The next landing will see the cable come ashore in Rarotonga, followed by Bora Bora and Tahiti in French Polynesia in early 2020.
Celebrations to mark the event coincided with Aitutaki Day
The cable will link Aitutaki to Rarotonga at up to 10Tbps (=10,000,000Mbps), from where the Manatua cable will connect to the global internet via Apia, Samoa and Tahiti, French Polynesia.
The Manatua cable will be ready for service in mid-2020.