Coral Sea internet Cable launched in PNG

PNG Prime Minister James Marape officially launched the Coral Sea Cable today in Port Moresby.

The launching took place in the presence of Australian High Commissioner to PNG, His Excellency, Jon Philp and Minister for Information and Communication Timothy Masiu, Minister for State Enterprises, Sasindran Muthuvel and officials from PNG DataCo Limited and the ICT industry.

Coral Sea Cable, is a 4700 kilometres cable connecting Port Moresby and Honiara with Sydney and the rest of the world and is Australian’s Flagship investment in PNG’s Information and Communication Technology infrastructure.

This massive project was jointly funded by the Australian Government with co-contribution from PNG Government and Solomon Islands.

The Cable system was completed in December 2019 and brought into use on February 18, 2020 and has been in operation and benefiting PNG.

Prime Minister James Marape said the Government of PNG and its people are grateful for the relationship that is forged between Papua New Guinea and Australia.

"Through that relationship we can now witness the ongoing partnership that our Governments have had since our independence," Marape said.

"This cable has resulted in increased capacity, low latency, increased availability and more importantly reduced cost at the wholesale level.
The Coral Sea Cable is a key strategic intervention by Government of PNG through PNG DataCo as part of the National Transmission Network (NTN) to stimulate economic and development opportunities through investment in the digital economy through:

●Economic growth in economic corridors and trade zones creating new businesses opportunities.

●Attracting new investment opportunities in agriculture, tourism, fisheries and downstream processing to manufacture finished product to access global market.

●Creating new job opportunities for our people so that no one would be left behind.

●Enabling e-commerce to trading of goods and services locally and internationally complimented by the Electronic Transaction Bill to be passed in Parliament.

●Enabling access to better health care and training across the country.

●Enhancing quality education and training of our people through program such as the DFAT funded STEM program for Secondary and National High Schools; and

●Helping to improve basic social services and government awareness programs.

"Today the world is hard hit by the Covid-19 Pandemic with restrictions on international travel affecting businesses and our citizens, which has triggered a higher dependency on electronic and ICT services,” Prime Minister Marape said.

“The CS2 is a timely gift to our country to rescue us from our ailing ICT infrastructure and has assisted us to adapt to this “New Normal” and dependence on technology during this trying times.”

The Prime Minister noted PNG’s two critical initiatives and there were; Electrification Program as well as the Connect PNG Economic Road Transport Infrastructure Development program which have ICT components to help achieve the policy aspirations for our developing economy.

We need a coordinated and collaborative approach in our infrastructure rollout programs so when we mobilise for road construction projects we can also lay Fibre ducts and when we mobilise to extend the power grid we are also stringing fibre on the same pylons and poles.

“My government’s policy is to ensure Affordable Access to ICT services in our country,” Marape said.

“We need to implement the SoE restructure with the merging of TPNG and bmobile to avoid the duplication of resources and costs and to ensure the merged entity is able to compete effectively.

We also need to expend the National Transmission Network beyond the Provincial Townships to the populated centres in our country.”

Marape said the nation needs policy and regulatory intervention to create a more vibrant competitive retail market through facilities sharing, number portability, domestic roaming and maybe measures to ensure that price reductions in the wholesale market are also passed onto the retail market.

He said the CS2 cable meets the country’s need for international connectivity into Port Moresby but with a large population base that lives outside of Port Moresby, a lot of work to must be done to ensure that the benefits of this infrastructure are redistributed across the country.

The Prime Minister said PNG DataCo had reduced wholesale internet pricing in January 2020 by about 40% to USD98 or PGK340 per Mbps per month and will continue to reduce its wholesale prices as the usage volumes increases at the back of bringing into use of such infrastructure.

"Furthermore, all these pricing is now being worked at together with NICTA and the retail operators like Digicel, Telikom and Bemobile so that prices are uniform and cheap throughout the country regardless of where you are located."

He said the nation is also currently witnessing the submarine cable landings in Momase, New Guinea Islands and Papuan regions of the country as part of the whole transformation of the Telecommunication and Information infrastructure.

Marape also stated that currently the Kumul Submarine Cable Network project is nearing the completion of the cable laying with Daru been completed as well as the restoration of the Lae Branch this week.

DataCo is now working with the ICT regulator to ensure that the nation has a blended uniform wholesale pricing across the country so the least and the most remote parts of PNG can enjoy similar prices to those enjoyed in Port Moresby.
Photo: PM Marape at the launching venue today.

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