Friday 5 June 2020
Prime Minister James Marape today launched the Coral Sea Cable System (CS2) at the landing site at Kila Barracks, Port Moresby, home of both the Coral Sea Cable and the Kumul Submarine Cable.
The massive 4 700 kilometer cable between Honiara, Solomon Islands, Sydney, Australia, and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea , is Australia ‘s ;flagship investment’ in the country’s information and communication technology infrastructure.
This means Papua New Guineans can now benefit from increased capacity, low latency, increased availability and more importantly reduced cost at the wholesale internet pricing.
“My government’s policy is to ensure affordable access to ICT services in our country. This aspiration can be met through various interventions through portfolios under the two responsible Ministers. Minister for Information and Communication Technology, Timothy Masiu and Minister for Public Enterprises and State Investments, Sasindran Muthuvel.”
Mr Marape said his government needs to implement the state owned enterprises restructure with the merging of Telikom PNG and Bemobile, to avoid duplication of resources and costs to ensure the entity is able to compete effectively.
“We also need policy and regulatory intervention to create a more vibrant competitive retail market through facilities sharing, number portability, domestic roaming and maybe measures to ensure that price reductions in the wholesale market are also passed onto the retail market.
“If we can do these simple things right with the help our development partners, then we will be able to transform how our government delivers services to our people and how our businesses operate in the digital economy,” Mr Marape said.
He added that two critical initiatives are the electrification program, and the connect PNG economic road transport infrastructure development program which have ICT components, to help achieve the policy aspirations of the country’s developing economy.
“We need a coordinated and collaborative approach in our infrastructure rollout programs, so when we mobile for road construction projects, we can also lay fibre ducts, and when we mobilise to extend the power grid across the country , we are also stringing fibre on the same pylons and poles.”
Mr Marape described the Coral Sea Cable as a key strategic intervention by his government through PNG DataCo, as part of the National Transition Network (NTN) to encourage economic and development opportunities through investment in the digital economy.
The project will among others, create economic growth in economic corridors and trade zones, thus creating new business opportunities; create new job opportunities for Papua New Guineans, and enabling e-commerce to trading of goods and services locally and internationally complimented by the Electronic Bill to be passed by Parliament.
Mr Marape when expressing his gratitude to the government and people of Australia, said the CS2 was a timely gift to Papua New Guinea to rescue the country’s ailing ICT infrastructure.
He adds that the CS2 was also timely during the Covid-19 pandemic, as businesses and travels were restricted, causing high dependency on electronic and ICT services.
The Kumul Submarine Cable network project on the other hand, is nearing completion of cable laying with Daru, Western Province, being completed as well as the restoration of the Lae Branch.
The project is in the testing and commissioning phase and should be operational by July 2020.
It is expected that the Kumul Submarine Cable project will connect all the provincial townships and likely to extend to the masses outside of the urban centres.
In the meantime, DataCo is now working with the regulator, NICTA, to ensure that pricing across the country is in uniformity and that the remotest parts of the country can enjoy similar pricing and quality services for ICT, as that in Port Moresby.