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Cable internet ‘cheaper with demand’ in Cook Islands

Avaroa Cable will offer internet service that has speed enough to cover a large city. 

The cable internet capacity will get cheaper with demand, says the Avaroa Cable Limited (ACL).

Dr Ranulf Scarbrough, chief executive of Avaroa Cable, said cost was a limiting factor amidst questions on whether the new submarine cable system will bring cheaper and faster internet to the Cook Islands.

Dr Scarbrough said cable capacity “gets cheaper very quickly the more you buy”.

It is unlike satellite, he said, where costs were fairly linear, “so if you buy twice as much you get a smaller discount”.

“The result is that the cable should allow end user speeds and data packages to grow much more affordably than has been possible with satellite. The precise price pricing and packaging of this will, however, be up to retailers,” Dr Scarbrough said.

The cable had a maximum speed of 10Tbps (“10,000,000 Mbps is enough for a large city”), he said.

“The technical capacity of the cable will not be the limiting factor on the speeds that can be delivered to end users.”

Avaroa Cable expects to finalise pricing “soon” and to be ready to contract with operators in order to go live as soon at the cable is ready for service.

But Phillip Henderson, the chief executive of Vodafone Cook Islands, said the option from Avaroa was already “looking exciting for us”.

Henderson also said Vodafone’s measure of capacity per user was among the top quarter in the Pacific.

Dr Ranulf Scarbrough said Avaroa Cable’s aim was to set the wholesale pricing to enable retail operators, such as Vodafone, to improve the affordability of their products and services, as well as delivering faster speeds and better reliability.

He said they would offer the same prices to all its customers.

“As with any international wholesale telecommunications operator in a competitive market, Avaroa Cable Limited will set its pricing with the aim of attracting customers, being competitive and reflecting the value of the product.

“ACL does not set retail pricing.  Retail pricing is a question for retailers.

“ACL expects to finalise pricing soon and to be ready to contract with operators in order to go live as soon at the cable is ready for service.”

Avaroa Cable Ltd and Vodafone Cook Islands this week confirmed that they are working together to get ready for the cable going live later this year. 

Dr Scarbrough said Vodafone’s work to get ready for the cable going live, by connecting to Avaroa and working with them on testing, will help ensure a smooth transition to the new infrastructure.

“We have previously said that we expect the cable to be technically ‘ready for service’ in May 2020 and probably providing service to end user by June 2020, although this later point is dependent on adoption by retailers in the Manatua consortium countries.”.


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