Huawei Marine today announced that it will help Papua New Guinea (PNG) to build a national broadband transmission network to meet the increasing demand for internet connectivity and help foster social and economic development across the country.
Located in the South Pacific, Papua New Guinea is an island nation with numerous mountains and volcanoes, where domestic telecommunications largely relies on satellite and microwave communications. Huawei Marine and PNG DataCo Limited, a Telecommunications Carrier established by the PNG Government, will construct a national submarine cable network to provide the backbone telecommunications needed by major coastal centers and islands in Papua New Guinea.
Source: Huawei Marine Networks
At 5,457 km in length, the submarine cable network will provide domestic connectivity across 14 main cities (PNG’s largest population centers) and international connectivity via a link to Jayapura in Indonesia.
The design capacity of the system is 8 Tbit/s, which will cater for increased bandwidth demand over the next 10-15 years. When completed, the network will cover 55% of the population and will provide more than 70% of Papua New Guinea’s domestic bandwidth requirements.
Paul Komboi, Managing Director of DataCo said, “This new system is very important to Papua New Guinea as it not only includes a new submarine cable network but also provides internet gateways and data centers. This will improve the whole ICT infrastructure in the country and greatly increase network coverage, capacity, and the availability of Internet and broadband services to end users.
DataCo is proud to contribute to the national broadband plan in the country. Our selection of the experienced team at Huawei Marine, following a tender process, will ensure a successful implementation and delivery of this system.”
Mike Constable, Chief Executive, Huawei Marine said, “For island nations, submarine cable systems are key components required for the development of an affordable and effective ICT infrastructure.
We are proud to be partnering with DataCo to improve and expand telecommunication access in support of Papua New Guinea’s social and economic development."
Source: Huawei Marine Networks Press Release
ANALYSIS: DataCo has spent a number of years studying options for creating the Papua New Guinea National Submarine Fibre Cable Network but maps from the original RFP issued in 2013 show very little difference from what is now proposed.
This is certainly a good solution for PNG which consists of population concentrations around the coast with challenging jungle and mountain terrain in between. It is, however, interesting to note that a target ready-for-service date is not mentioned in the press release. This probably indicates that funding is not yet in place and the supply contract with HMN is not yet in force.
The configuration of the cable route appears to have been designed to make every span repeaterless, keeping the cost down. HMN announced an unrepeatered distance of >600km achieved in the laboratory in September 2016. It remains to be seen if this result can be replicated in the field. With 16 landings and 12 branching units planned, the RFS date must be at least two years away even without allowing for the challenging nature of the environment.
It is also interesting to note that this ostensibly domestic system has an international connection to Jayapura in Papua, Indonesia. PT Telkom of Indonesia recently commissioned a domestic submarine cable network, connecting Papua to the rest of Indonesia. It is a long way from Jayapura to any recognizable international submarine cable hub. The latency on this link will render it practically useless and the Indonesians are unlikely to do DataCo any favors on the price for onward connectivity. PNG will therefore remain reliant on the connection at Madang to PPC-1 (Sydney-Guam) and the capacity-constrained APNG-2 (Port Moresby-Sydney). Simon Fletcher of Interchange in Vanuatu earlier this year obtained permission from the Government of Papua New Guinea to land a submarine cable, "ICN-2" which would provide connectivity from PNG to Fiji and the Southern Cross transpacific cable via Vanuatu but it looks like DataCo has baulked at allowing a foreign player to offer wholesale international services in PNG.
Julian Rawle, Author
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