New cable to link PNG and Australia
A high-speed telecommunications cable will deliver benefits to PNG businesses. David James reports.
The prime ministers of Papua New Guinea and Australia, Peter O’Neill and Malcolm Turnbull, have announced they will be working together to lay a new undersea high-speed telecommunications cable between Port Moresby and Australia.
The move is expected to contribute to closer economic integration between the two neighbouring countries.
Australia will provide the majority of funding, with a financial co-contribution from PNG.
An undersea cable to replace the existing ageing APNG-2 cable at Port Moresby’s Ela Beach has been needed for some time, both to deal with PNG’s growing internet traffic and to provide redundancy for PNG’s only other international gateway, PPC-1, sited in Madang.
The Australian government has also been having close discussions with the Solomon Islands government about laying a similar undersea cable from Australia to Honiara.
Jonathan Pryke, director of the Lowy Institute’s Pacific Islands program, estimates that the cost is likely to be about $US100 million (PGK321 million) for a 3000-kilometre cable between Port Moresby and Sydney.
He says the move is a “very welcome development” that will be a big positive for business in PNG. “It was getting to the point where the private sector was talking about chipping in themselves. The private sector must be happy to finally see this actually get done. There has been discussion about this cable for so long.”
Pryke says it is not just the cable that is needed; the domestic infrastructure also needs to be improved. “It will provide a starting point, but the bandwidth to the capital city will be something not seen before.
“The [APNG-2] cable in Port Moresby has about 5 per cent of the capacity of a modern cable. And the demand is certainly there.” ■
The private sector must be happy to finally see this get done. There has been discussion about this cable for so long.