News Item

Full steam ahead for Manatua cable

News 7 Oct 2019

Avaroa Cable Ltd (ACL) has confirmed that manufacture of the 3600km Manatua Cable is now complete.

The cable which has been manufactured in the U.S, will soon be loaded on a 13,000 tonne freighter ready to be laid across Polynesia, starting with Samoa. Loading of the cable onto the freighter has taken over two weeks due to numerous testing ensuring that there is no damage to the cable.

At the same time when manufactured had been completed, the Government of the Cook Islands's National Environment Service (NES) had given its approval for the cable to be installed in the Cook Islands after several months of public consultation.

Petero Okotai, Chief Executive of the Cook Islands Investment Corporation says with the cable now completed and headed to the Pacific, it is a step forward for the Cook Islands.

"The Manatua Cable will provide a step-change in communications infrastructure of the Cook Islands, enabling and underpinning efforts for the Cook Islands to access to a new world of new social and economic opportunities." Mr. Okotai said.

"It is great to see the progress ACL is making in delivering this important investment"

However Director for NES, Nga Puna said that although NES has given its approval, it is still wary of the effects the cable may potentially have on the environment,

"NES recognises that the Manatua Cable is a crucial project for the Cook Islands, but that doesn't mean there can be any compromise on our stringent environmental protection standards. NES carefully studied ACL's proposals and used independent expert advice to be certain those protections would be in place."

The Rarotonga and Aitutaki landings will be the first fibre optic connectivity for the Cook Islands. Completion of the cable project is set for May 2020.

About the Manatua - One Polynesia Cable

The Manatua cable will be 3600km long connecting Samoa, Niue, Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Tahiti and Bora. The cable will be capable of operating at up to 10 tera bits per second using state-of-the-art fibre optic technology, enough speed to download 300 high definition movies every single second.

About Avaroa Cable Ltd

ACL is the state-owned enterprise (SOE) which manages the Cooks Islands involvement in the Manatua Cable project and its commercialisation as an international and domestic wholesale operator. ACL has been established, and the independent board which oversees it is appointed, by the Cook Islands Investment Corporation, which is the government body responsible for SOEs. ACL’s board is chaired by local business woman Tatiana Burn. Funding has been provided by the Cook Islands Government, the New Zealand Aid Programme and the Asian Development Bank.

About the Manatua Cable Consortium

The ground-breaking Manatua cable consortium was formed following the signing of an International Treaty in November 2018 between the governments of the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and French Polynesia. The purpose of the consortium is to build and operate the Manatua cable. The consortium comprises Avaroa Cable Ltd (for the Cooks Islands), Niue Telecom, the Samoa Submarine Cable Company and Office de Poste et Telecommunications (for French Polynesia). It is the first consortium of its type anywhere in the Pacific.

Image: Signing of an International Treaty in November 2018 between the governments of the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and French Polynesia. Image source: TelecomNiue Alofi