Avaroa Cable chief executive, Ranulf Scarbrough said the cable project is progressing well and there is no reason why the Cook Islands shouldn’t soon have the same internet services as the rest of the world.
“Work is well advanced for the construction of the two cable landing stations, one each on Rarotonga and Aitutaki, with contracts now being in place for the cable landing stations and the cable land routes,” said Scarbrough.
He said Australia’s Data Exchange Network was chosen as they could provide the highest quality engineering for a challenging location like the Cook Islands.
In a release Douglas Loh, executive chairman of Data Exchange said: “We are very excited to be a part of this critical project for Polynesia, providing Avaroa Cable Ltd with key elements for the cable landing stations. We are confident that our products will provide robust and reliable service to the people of the Cook Islands for the 25-year life of the cable.”
Meanwhile, the marine survey for the cable was successfully completed along the whole cable route in June.
The advanced fibre optic cable, its six branches for landings across Polynesia, and the 32 ‘repeaters’ are now being manufactured in a specialist facility in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, US, ready for installation later this year.
Scarbrough added that they are now going through the formal process of an environmental impact assessment through the National Environmental Service.
He said they are aiming to keep internet costs low and provide data which will be more reliable than satellite connectivity and introduce a competitive market for Bluesky Cook Islands and other retailers to come.
The demand for internet services is slowly rising and is a much needed resource for education, business and communications in the Cook Islands.
Currently, 60 percent of Cook Islanders are using internet which is set to increase when the Avaroa Cable goes live.
Bluesky will continue to provide satellite-based services for the outer islands which will not receive cable connectivity.
The structures for the cable landing stations, one each for Rarotonga and Aitutaki, are expected to arrive in the Cook Islands toward the end of the year and go into live operation on the Manatua Cable in May 2020.