News Item

Manatua cable lay operation across Polynesia complete

Media 18 Feb 2020

Telecommunications representatives from the partner organisations behind the Manatua - One Polynesia Cable met in Auckland, New Zealand this week and confirmed that the cable lay operations were successfully completed in January 2020.

The operation, which lasted more than 50 days and endured two regional cyclones, tested the cable ship SubCom Reliance's team of 65, who worked day and night to place the 3600km cable on the seabed of the South Pacific.

The cable landings started in Apia, Samoa from November 2019 then headed towards Niue, Rarotonga and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, and finished off in Bora Bora and Tahiti in January 2020.

At times more than 100 people on land and at sea, including many local contractors, worked to bring each cable landing ashore. The arrival of the cable in each island was met with traditional celebrations and blessings.

Dr Ranulf Scarbrough, Manatua Consortium Vice-Chair and CEO of Avaroa Cable Ltd announced that once the cable goes live, it will provide service for the next 25 years,

"Completion of the cable lay operation has required years of planning and coordination," Dr. Scarbrough said

"We now have the firm foundations in place for the Manatua network and can look forward to making the cable live for service in just a few months' time and realising our original vision of a trans-Polynesian information superhighway."

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 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: Aitutaki school children join in the celebrations of the arrival of the Manatua One Polynesia Cable on Aitutaki, Cook Islands, 14 December 2019. Source: Cook Islands Government