A crucial meeting of regional telecommunications leaders has approved the final stages of planning for the installation of the Manatua – One Polynesia Cable. The new optical fiber submarine cable will span the South Pacific transforming speed, capacity, resilience and affordability. The six landings will be in Tahiti and Bora Bora in French Polynesia, Rarotonga and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, Apia, Samoa and Niue. It is the first fiber connectivity to Niue and the Cook Islands.

Manatua is a groundbreaking collaboration initiated in April 2017 with the signing of an international treaty by the President of French Polynesia, the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, the Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa, and the Premier of the Government of Niue.

Manatua Consortium executives from Office des Postes et Télécommunications (OPT) in French Polynesia, Avaroa Cable Limited (ACL) in the Cook Islands, Telecom Niue Limited (TNL) in Niue, and Samoa Submarine Cable Company (SSCC), in the Independent State of Samoa, met in Apia this week to approve detailed installation plans.

The cable is already in the region following manufacture in New Hampshire, USA by submarine cable industry leader SubCom, who was successful in the extensive supplier selection process held in 2018. Transfer of the 3700km cable from the delivery freighter Thorco Liva onto specialist cable laying vessel SubCom Reliance is currently underway. Cable lay operations will commence in Samoa in November, Niue and Cook Islands in December, and finish in French Polynesia in January 2020.

The meeting marked the culmination of 12 months of intensive consortium efforts overseeing technical design, manufacture, performance validation, marine survey and contractual compliance to ensure the cable will perform to expectations over its 25-year life. In parallel, the consortium has been readying itself for the start of operational service in June 2020.

Polynesian citizens will benefit from Manatua as each operator works to make the new infrastructure available to their retailers to incorporate into their local connectivity products and services.

Vairani Davio, Joint-Chair of the Manatua Procurement Group and OPT’s Chef de Project Telecom said: “The Manatua cable is a physical embodiment of the Polynesian leaders’ shared vision of a connected region, delivering reliable, high-capacity and affordable connectivity. It will strengthen our cultural connections and create the foundation for our island’s digital transformation.”

Dr. Ranulf Scarbrough, Manatua Consortium Management Committee Joint-Chair and CEO of Avaroa Cable Ltd said: “The Manatua One Polynesia cable is the first collaboration of its kind, with four partners working together to achieve far more than they each could alone. It marks a new era of connectedness and collaboration for Polynesia.”

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