Discussions on Melanesian submarine cable making progress
Discussions on a multi-million dollar submarine cable connecting Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea to Australia were progressed in Canberra last week.
The Solomon Star newspaper reported the minister for communciation Peter Shanel Agovaka was invited by Australia along with his PNG counterpart for the discussions.
The delegations were briefed on Australia's internet policies, its communication market and legislation as well as legal regimes for landing and operating and protecting a submarine cable and the processes for obtaining permits.
The $US2.2 million project is being partly funded by Australia and will see the construction of a 4000km long high-speed internet cable connecting the two Melanesian countries and Australia.
The Australian company vocus has been contracted for the new cable deal.
For Solomon Islands the new cable deal replaced a controversial arrangement brokered by the previous government led by Manasseh Sogavare with Huawei for a shorter cable connecting Honiara to Sydney.
The deal was strongly opposed by Australia citing national security concerns over the Chinese telecommunications company's involvement.
It also lost funding support from the Asian Development because of a lack of transparency around the procurement process.