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New undersea cable initiative to improve internet speed and cost in PNG

The multi-million undersea cable that Australia will fund, construct and hand-over to Papua New Guinea will transform information technology communications, according to the Minister for for Communications, Information Technology and Energy Sam Basil.

“It will help move Papua New Guinea closer to faster, more reliable and affordable IT telecommunication services.”

“The new Coral Sea cable will bring benefits in greater speeds and bandwidth (10 terabits per second on each fibre compared to 1000 gigabits per second now). It will be 200 times faster than the existing cables and definitely reduce the cost of internet to the consumer.”.

“The pricing structure is yet to be determined which will also depend on the wholesale costings by Dataco. But it will greatly reduce the overall cost of internet in the country and make us competitive in internet costs with other countries.”

Minister Basil has thrown his ministerial support including line Government agencies – Department of Information and Communications (DCI), National Information Communications Technology Authority (NICTA), and the National Broadcasting Corporation(NBC) to the underseas cable project.

“I am also calling on all line agencies which are not directly under my ministry – and all National Government stakeholders - to provide every support and assistance to this project which will ensure reliability, affordability and speed in IT communications in the country,” the ICT Minister said.

Minister Basil wants to see an all-of-Government coordinated approach on this vital ICT infrastructure led by line agencies – DCI, NICTA, DataCo, Telikom PNG and backed by stakeholder Departments – Treasury, National Planning, Finance and APEC ICT.

Basil said this in a statement issued after a Meeting with officials from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade led by Deputy Secretary Ms Penny Williams and Australian High Commission in Port Moresby led by Minister-Counselor Mr Benedict David on Monday. Officials from the DFAT-engaged projector developer – Vocus – were also present in NICTA Office conference room.

Mr Basil was supported by PNG ICT officials led by acting Secretary of Department of Information and Communications, Mr Paulias Korni and National Information Communications Technology Authority Chief Executive, Mr Charles Punana.

“The building of the undersea cable will improve telecommunications connectivity resulting in improved internet access which will in turn enhance business engagement and pertinent developments on education and health services.”

“There are still issues of scoping and costing which depends on where the cable lands onshore in Australia (Sydney, Townsville or Sunshine Coast) and cable ownerships and financing. All these can be worked out in due course and captured in subsequent technical and bidding legal problems.”

“But now that a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by PNG Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato and his Australian counterpart Ms Julie Bishop recently in Brisbane, which is in line with the Prime Ministerial pact between Prime Minister O’Neill and Prime Minister Turnbull, it is time to move forward on this vital infrastructure,” Mr Basil said.

He was pleased that the Australians had taken the time to brief his ministry and line agencies on the submarine cable. Both parties also discussed cybersecurity challenges in PNG especially in the lead up to APEC Leaders Summit in November – but also on-going assistance required in the light of cybercrime and cyber terrorism.  Read more on PNG Technology Website: PNG eHow

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