Three years since commercial operations started on 1 February 2019, there has been significant increase in available international and domestic bandwidth capacity and usage. SISCC’s technology and business innovation together with good user experience has made it an attractive provider for domestic and international customers. Its growing traffic capacity cannot be fully offloaded to satellite should the Coral Sea (CS2) cable fail.
This morning’s briefing was for SISCC to discuss and update Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare MP on efforts to secure a second international cable for Solomon Islands. The need for the redundant or backup international submarine cable has been demonstrated by the catastrophic experience of Tonga when it lost its single international cable at the beginning of 2022 and by the cable disruption in PNG following the earthquake on September 11th 2022.
CEO Keir told Prime Minister Sogavare, two opportunities have emerged for improved resiliency of the Solomon Islands Coral Sea (CS2) and Domestic Network (SIDN) submarine cable networks;
- SI Branch, Hawaiki Nui Cable Project – This involves:
- Branching Unit requested by SIG has been approved within DFAT/ AIFFP and now just waits on Ministerial sign off.
- 500-650 km branch cable will be required
- New Landing and land duct route are preferred for optimum resiliency
- Capacity lease 100G – West Coast USA and Singapore (Asia) will be included in the project.
- Project Estimate up to $50M USD
CEO Keir stated, for this option, a letter of request for the funding of the branch cable will likely be required from the Solomon Islands Government to Commonwealth of Australia.
- PNG Kumul Domestic Cable to Taro – This involves:
- PNG DataCo and SISCC securing a landing party agreement to host a connection in Taro, Choiseul;
- 100 G capacity swap of DataCo to Honiara and SISCC to Madang with commercial terms for onward International transit;
- This connection will provide essential diversity and resilience for Western Province and Choiseul Province in the event of a cable break between Honiara and Noro on the SIDN.
- SISCC will require:
- Environmental / Development Consent
- More land in Taro
- Additional CLS for Taro
- 2x100G upgrade of ISDN capacity Taro-Honiara
For this project to proceed, a letter of support from the government to the PNG Government will likely be required, CEO Keir explained.
Prime Minister Sogavare appreciates the update, saying it is great news.
“A second international cable for Solomon Islands is important for submarine diversity and resilience. It will bring tremendous transformational and economic opportunities for the country,” the PM stressed.
He adds, proper prior risk analysis is also important.