Chief Executive Officer of Solomon Oceanic Cable Company (SOCC) Robin Russell says that the tender for the main supply of the submarine cable contract will closes on the 17th of July, 2015, which is a first step towards implementation.
This was confirmed yesterday in which Russell indicated that advancement in the project is well underway.
“Once the bids have been evaluated we will progress to finalise the financing and will then contract with the successful bidder to deliver the submarine cable and supporting terminal equipment,” Russell stated.
He said that the total cost of the project will depend on the cost of the successful bid in the international competitive tender being undertaken.
He added that the total cost, including financing cost, civil works, supporting studies, legal costs, project management costs, contingencies etc, is expected to be in the vicinity of US$68M.
In terms of challenges ahead of the project implementation he said, the only key issue in constructing submarine fibre optic cable networks is always “getting the money”, that is, the financing.
“In the case of Solomon Islands, the approach being adopted is a “PPP” model, that is, a public / private partnership,” he said.
“Funding is being provided in the form of equity by the SINPF (51% shareholder) and Our Telekom (49%), Asian Development Bank (ADB) support in the form of grants and sovereign debt through the Solomon Islands Government, and private debt funding from the ANZ bank and the PSOD (the investment banking arm of the ADB),” he added.
He also said the technology that will be deployed has been in use for many years now, is well proven and not particularly risky.
“SOCC, a 100% Solomon Islands owned company, is responsible for the project,” Russell stated.
By AATAI JOHN