Leaders of the four nations behind the Manatua One Polynesia Cable Project have announced that the cable was accepted last week from turnkey supplier and submarine cable leader, SubCom.
They further announced that, following final checks and preparations by the four operators managing the project as the Manatua Consortium, comprising 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 Samoa, the system was officially “Ready for Service.”
The announcement is the culmination of three years of planning, design, cable manufacture, and cable laying. Since completing the cable lay in January 2020, the focus has been on commissioning and testing to confirm the system functions to specifications prior to handover.
Despite disruptions from the global COVID-19 pandemic during the latter stages of the project, which restricted the movement of critical test resources, the Manatua system has been delivered on time and within the original budget – a major testament to the collaboration and determination of the partners and SubCom.
Manatua is a ground-breaking 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.
The new 3600 km optical fibre submarine cable now spans the South Pacific and will transform speed, capacity, resilience, and affordability. The cable connects Tahiti and Bora Bora in French Polynesia, Rarotonga and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, Niue and Samoa. It is the first submarine cable in the Cook Islands and Niue, which until now have relied on satellite connectivity.
Once operational, the Manatua cable is designed to provide service for at least 25 years. The system comprises two optical fibre pairs, each capable of carrying data at 10 Terabits per second (= 10,000,000 Mbps).
Citizens of the consortium countries will benefit from Manatua as each operator works to make the new infrastructure available to retailers for incorporation into their local connectivity products and services.
Edouard Fitch, President of French Polynesia, said:
“I consider this cooperation as a fantastic technical advancement and a milestone in terms of connectivity for our Polynesian region, which will allow us to a broader connectivity to the World. This is an indication of our determination and a tangible action undertaken under the banner of the Polynesian Leaders Group. We should consider this project as a tremendous achievement and I wish to salute and acknowledge the unwavering support of the government of New Zealand (The Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade) who fostered this initiative four years ago.”
Honorable Henry Puna, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, said:
“Through Manatua, our four nations have achieved together something that was unattainable individually. Because of that collaborative spirit, our people will be connected. Our lives will be connected. Our futures will be more prosperous and rewarding. This project is the dawn of a new era of cooperation and collaboration across Polynesia. I am so proud of the work undertaken by Avaroa Cable and their partners in the other countries. It is the perfect model for the future of our region.”
Dalton Tagelagi, Premier of Niue, said:
“The Manatua Consortium is a testament to Polynesian countries working together to make a real difference to the lives of our people, our countries and our future. Niue's connection to the Manatua Cable network is a key investment for a world-class telecommunications infrastructure to expedite Niue's technological future that is crucial for the development of the country. It will enable a digital platform for improvements to education, health, other government services and to the private sector enhancing the business and tourism markets."
Tuilaepa Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa, said:
“The Manatua Cable is a physical embodiment of the Polynesian leaders’ shared vision of a connected Pacific region; delivering fast, reliable and affordable internet for all. It will strengthen our cultural connections, drive economic development and employment, and create the foundation for the digital transformation of all our countries.”