Fiji-Tonga fibre optic cable contract awarded
The contract for laying the 827-kilometre submarine fibre optic cable between Fiji and Tonga has been awarded to French telecommunications giant Alcatel Lucent this week, reports Matangi Tonga. The project is expected to be complete by June next year.<!--more-->
Alcatel Lucent won the contract against international tenderers that included Huawei Marine Networks of China, NEC of Japan and TE Subcom of the United States. The submarine fibre optic cable will connect Tonga to the Southern Cross Cable, linking Australia and the United States.
Tonga’s Secretary for Communications and Information Paula Ma'u said the total project is worth US$34 million, and Alcatel won the bid by US$18.9 million. He said that the total allocation for the laying of the cable was US$26.2 million, and the remaining funds would be used to finance the setting up of an internet communication system for government ministries, Matangi Tonga has reported.
When fully operational the cable would have a capacity of 320Gbits, as against the paltry 50 to 55Mbits that the full capacity of the current satellite network affords Tonga now.
A consortium comprising Tonga Communications Corporation (20%) and World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (80%) is funding the project.