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Manatua Consortium Confirms Cable Lay Operations Complete

  • Groundbreaking 3600km cable successfully deployed across South Pacific on time
  • Landings in Tahiti & Bora Bora, French Polynesia; Rarotonga & Aitutaki in Cook Islands; Niue and Samoa Successfully Completed
  • Unique international collaboration to transform regional speed, resilience and affordability
  • Cable on target to be live by June 2020

Telecommunications executives from the four partner organisations behind the Manatua – One Polynesia Cable have confirmed that the cable lay operations were successfully completed in January 2020.

In an operation lasting more than 50 days, and defying two regional cyclones, Cable Ship SubCom Reliance’s 65 strong team worked night and day to place the 3600km cable on the seabed of the South Pacific.

SubCom Reliance pictured off Rutaki reef, Rarotonga, Cook Islands on 8 January 2020 just prior to landing Manatua’s Rarotonga branch cable amid heavy surf following Cyclone Sarai.

Starting in Apia, Samoa, further cable landings in Niue, Rarotonga and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, and Bora Bora and Tahiti in French Polynesia, were successfully completed from November 2019 through to 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 location was met with traditional Polynesian celebrations and blessings.

Cable landing celebrations: Cook Islands traditional dancers celebrating the arrival of the Manatua One Polynesia Cable at Rutaki village, Rarotonga, Cook Islands on 9 January 2020.
Cable Landing: Aitutaki school children join in the celebrations of the arrival of the Manatua One Polynesia Cable on Aitutaki, Cook Islands, 14 December 2019.

The new optical fibre submarine cable now spans the South Pacific and will transform speed, capacity, resilience and affordability. Manatua is the first submarine cable to connect Niue and also the Cook Islands.

Manatua is a groundbreaking collaboration initiated in April 2017 with the signing of an international treaty by the President of French Polynesia, the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, the Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa, and the Premier of the Government of Niue.

Manatua Consortium executives from Office des Postes et Télécommunications (OPT) in French Polynesia, Avaroa Cable Limited (ACL) in the Cook Islands, Telecom Niue Limited (TNL) in Niue, and Samoa Submarine Cable Company (SSCC) in Samoa, met in Auckland, New Zealand this week. The consortium reviewed engineering reports from the completed work to ensure stringent quality standards had been met before giving approval to move to the next stage of work.

Cable Landing: SubCom, Optic Marine Group and Avaroa Cable Ltd undertake the complex engineering operation to bring the cable ashore on Aitutaki, Cook Islands 14 December 2019.

The focus of the project will now shift to completing the integration of the six cable landing stations, and commissioning and testing of the Manatua cable network. Once operational, the Manatua cable is designed to provide service for at least 25 years.

Citizens of the consortium countries will benefit from Manatua as each operator works to make the new infrastructure available to their retailers to incorporate into their local connectivity products and services.

Vairani Davio, Joint-Chair of the Manatua Procurement Group and OPT’s Chef de Project Telecoms said:

“The past 50 days have seen intense effort from so many people working to ensure the Manatua One Polynesia cable is deployed in accordance with our stringent design goals. The work has gone incredibly well and we acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the men and women that made this possible.”

Dr Ranulf Scarbrough, Manatua Consortium Vice-Chair and CEO of Avaroa Cable Ltd said:

Completion of the cable lay operation has required years of planning and coordination. 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 realizing our original vision of a trans-Polynesian information superhighway.

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