Full Steam Ahead!

Manatua Cable Leaves Factory on Freighter Bound for the South Pacific

Cable manufacture and testing complete Freighter Thorco Liva contracted for 15,000km delivery

Environmental Approval Secured

Freighter Thorco Liva in Portsmouth, New Hampshire during cable loading following manufacture
Freighter Thorco Liva in Portsmouth, New Hampshire during cable loading following manufacture

Avaroa Cable Ltd today confirmed that manufacture of the 3600km Manatua Cable is now complete.

The advanced fibre optic cable, its six branches for landings across Polynesia, and the 32 ‘repeaters’ have completed the rigorous factory manufacture and quality processes, and factory acceptance tests in a specialist facility in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA. Manufacture has taken many months to complete. The cable will provide up to 10Tbps (10,000,000Mbps).

The Hong Kong registered 13,000 tonne freighter Thorco Liva has been contracted for the delivery to Samoa in preparation for the start of cable laying later this year. The 131m vessel departed Portsmouth on 20 September heading for the Panama Canal in order to reach Pacific waters. The 15,000 km journey will take several weeks to complete.

Loading of the cable onto the freighter has taken over two weeks, with end-to-end testing carried out at regular intervals. This is to ensure that no damage has occurred to the cable during the loading process. The cable is engineered for faultless operation over the cable’s 25 year life.

The news coincides with approval for the Manatua Cable’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study by the Government of the Cook Island’s National Environment Service (NES). NES carefully assessed the activities associated with installing and operating the cable, as well as the feedback from pubic consultations held earlier this year. Approval by NES is a pre-requisite for the cable to move ahead.

Completion of the Trans Polynesian Information Superhighway is on target to be ready for service in May 2020.

Dr Ranulf Scarbrough, ACL CEO and Vice Chair of the Manatua Cable Consortium said: “This is a key milestone for the Manatua cable project and for a new era of communications connectivity for the Cook Islands. Completion of the cable and an environmental green-light reflect a lot of hard work by some very dedicated people and takes us another step closer to our goal – faster, cheaper, more reliable and more resilient connectivity.”

Nga Puna, National Environment Service Director said: “NES recognises that the Manatua Cable is a crucial project for the Cooks Islands but that doesn’t mean there can be any compromise on our stringent environmental protection standards. NES carefully studied ACL’s proposals and used independent expert advice to be certain those protections would be in place. I am delighted that NES has been able to approve this project.

Petero Okotai, Chief Executive, Cook Islands Investment Corporation said: “The Manatua Cable will provide a step-change in communications infrastructure of the Cook Islands, enabling and underpinning efforts for the Cook Islands to access to a new world of new social and economic opportunities. It is great to see the progress ACL is making in delivering this important investment.”

Further information

Enquiries about this news release should be made to Rebecca Tavioni on +682-56621 or by email to rebecca.tavioni@cookislands.gov.ck

About Avaroa Cable Ltd

ACL is the state-owned enterprise established by the Government of the Cooks Islands to manage its involvement in the Manatua Cable project and operate the cable on behalf of the Cooks Islands. Funding has been provided by the Cook Islands Government, the New Zealand Government Aid Programme and the Asian Development Bank. ACL is overseen by an independent board chaired by local business woman Tatiana Burn.

About the Cook Islands

The Cooks Islands is an independent democracy comprising 15 islands in the south Pacific of c.15,000 people operating in free association with New Zealand.

About the Manatua – One Polynesia Cable

The Manatua cable will be 3500km long connecting Samoa, Niue, Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Tahiti and Bora. The cable will be capable of operating at up to 10 tera bits per second (= 10,000,000 megabits per second) using state-of-the-art fibre optic technology, enough speed to download 300 high definition movies every single second.

About the Manatua Cable Consortium

The ground-breaking Manatua cable consortium was formed following the signing of an International Treaty in November 2018 between the governments of the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and French Polynesia. The purpose of the consortium is to build and operate the Manatua cable. The consortium comprises Avaroa Cable Ltd (for the Cooks Islands), Niue Telecom, the Samoa Submarine Cable Company and Office de Poste et Telecommunications (for French Polynesia). It is the first consortium of its type anywhere in the Pacific.

About the New Zealand Aid Programme

The Cook Islands involvement in the Manatua Cable project has been part funded with NZ$15m of grant funding from the New Zealand Aid Programme. (www.mfat.govt.nz/en/aid-and-development)

About the Asian Development Bank

The Cooks Islands involvement in the Manatua Cable project has been part funded with US$15m of loan funding from the Asian Development Bank.


ACL release #6 - FINAL
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© 2019 by Avaroa Cable Limited 

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