Australia Expands Undersea Cable – Australia has completed the laying of undersea cables for its high-speed internet project in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, a snub to Chinese tech giant Huawei, which had previously competed for the deal.
Australia on Wednesday laid the final piece of cable as part of its $A137 million ($92.5 million) infrastructure effort, known as the Coral Sea Cable, which links Sydney to its island neighbors.
Australia agreed to front most of the cost of the construction project in 2018, shutting out a competing offer by Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. According to WA Today, the project spans 4,700 kilometers (2,920 miles) and is linked to Sydney’s Tamarama Beach using cables which feature optic fibers thinner than human hair.
The paper added that less than 11% of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands residents have internet access, making the project important to their future social and economic development.
Walter Diamana, Acting High Commissioner for Solomon Islands, said the project would “secure hope and bring a predictable future for our people,” WA Today reported.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne told reporters Wednesday that the project was key to fortifying Australia’s connection to the Pacific as China has begun expanding its efforts in the region. She said the goal was to have the cables in operation by December.