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Former PNG PM O'Neill thanks Australia on Completing Coral Sea Cable - Calls on Marape Govt to now deliver

Former Papua New Guinea prime minister and the Leader of the People’s National Congress Party, Peter O’Neill  has thanked Australia for its support and financing of the Coral Sea Cable that was formally launched in Port Moresby this week.

Mr. O’Neill said the clear objective of the project, that his Government had negotiated with Australia of several years, was to deliver cheaper high-speed Internet around the country.

However, he is concerned that due to a lack of commitment from the current Government, since the cable was connected in February, the price of data for consumers has not come down and domestic connections to the gateway continue to fail.

“The Coral Sea Cable that our government developed with the Australian Government is an essential part of the infrastructure that our country needs to advance, but the country has been let down by a lack of ongoing action,” Mr. O’Neill said.

“Right now the Coral Sea Cable should be making business easier, and very importantly, it should be being used by families and schools not only in Port Moresby, but being expanded around the country.

“The price paid for Internet access by our people and businesses should have fallen from day one of the Coral Sea Cable connecting Papua New Guinea.

“But, after a year of no planning or advancement of infrastructure from the landing point to the network, there has been no further investment from the government.

“This lack of attention by the current government also means that domestic connections to the cable often fail and have to revert to existing data connections.

“The country is still in the same place as we were before which means Internet service providers have to continue to rely on satellite connections that are expensive.

“As such, there has been no real increased bandwidth capacity into the market for families and businesses.

“This problem is made worse because the advantages of the cable are not going to be experienced in rural areas until the government resumes the cable rollout plans that have been left to fail.

“Our Government had agreed to extend fiber cables throughout the country in partnership with the PNG Electrification Project.

“As was revealed in the past week, the PNG Electrification Project has stalled, and the plans we had to extend cable along powerlines have gone nowhere.

“So instead of grandstanding about the project that was not theirs, this government should put some effort into rectifying the infrastructure shortfalls that have prevented the faster and cheaper Internet that the Coral Sea Cable project had intended for our people.”

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