The Coral Sea Cable System (CS2) will provide an undersea cable linking both Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea to Australia, and will deliver faster, more reliable and accessible internet to Solomon Islands, and the economic and development benefits that come with it.
I was honoured to participate in Prime Minster Hou’s visit to Australia this week where he was a guest of the Australian Government.
During this visit our Governments’ were pleased to announce that in addition to the international undersea cable, Australia and Solomon Islands will also jointly fund construction of a domestic undersea cable network linking Auki, Noro and Taro to Honiara.
This major piece of new infrastructure will help to extend the benefits of CS2 out to the provinces.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Hou and Prime Minister Turnbull witnessed the signing of a Landing Party Agreement between Australia and the Solomon Islands Submarine Cable Company (Solomon Submarine Cable) – a key milestone towards construction of the international and domestic cables.
Earlier in the week, I also accompanied a Solomon Islands delegation to tour an undersea cable landing station in Sydney.
It provided us with great insight into the type of infrastructure capacity that Solomon Islands will require to deliver its project.
Australia will provide the majority of funding, with a contribution from Solomon Islands, and will deliver the undersea cable from Australia to Honiara, Auki, Noro and Taro.
Solomon Submarine Cable, with support from the Solomon Islands Government, will build appropriate civil infrastructure and put necessary equipment is in place to receive the cable and distribute it to internet retailers.
Our governments’ have set an ambitious and accelerated timeframe for the project. Construction will start in July and we expect to deliver the cable in late 2019.
The cable will be owned and operated by Solomon Submarine Cable thereafter.
The introduction of this major piece of infrastructure brings great opportunity for the people of the Solomon Islands to participate in an ever increasing global digital economy.
With this opportunity also comes cyber security challenges.
Australia is supporting the establishment of a Cyber Security Operations Centre within the Solomon Islands Government to detect and respond to cyber security threats and enhance Solomon Islands cyber resilience.
We will also partner with Solomon Islands in a Technology for Development Challenge that will be launched in the coming months.
Together, our governments will identify a specific development challenge, and invite the private sector and community groups to come up with a technology-based solution that highlights cyber security best practice.
Winners will receive a grant of up to $250,000 to develop and implement their solutions over two years. Watch this space for more information.
Until now, Solomon Islands has been reliant on expensive and unreliable satellite communications.
Better internet will enable communities and businesses to grow, creating new opportunities and innovations in the public and private sector.
Improved economic cooperation and integration with the Pacific is a core objective of Australia’s Foreign Policy White paper.
CS2 supports this objective, and will promote broader economic progress in the region.
- From the Australian High Commissioner's Desk