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Australian company Vocus to lay new Melanesia undersea cable

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Australian telecommunications company Vocus has won a contract from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for a scoping study into the rollout of a new cable connecting Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

The telco said it anticipated the study would lead to the rollout of a new cable on behalf of the Australian government, beginning this year, Computer World reports.

“Our experience as network builders, owners and operators puts us in a strong position to lead this project on behalf of the Australian government,” Vocus CEO Geoff Horth said in a statement.

“The expertise we have gained from designing and developing the North-West Cable System and the Australia-Singapore Cable means that we have the team and the knowledge that can deliver the best outcome for Pacific Islands connectivity.”

The company picked up the North-West Cable System and the Australia-Singapore Cable as part of a 2016 deal to acquire Nextgen Networks.

Vocus announced in August last year that the Australia-Singapore Cable will go live in July 2018, ahead of schedule.

The federal government late last year announced it would fund the construction of a new cable between Australia and PNG. The government also revealed that it had been in “close discussions” with the Solomon Islands about laying a cable.

Currently the Solomon Islands relies on satellite Internet access.

The Australian government’s announcement in November allegedly followed national-security-related concerns that Chinese networking company Huawei would be contracted to deliver the cable connecting the Solomon Islands.

Huawei has been barred from participating in the rollout of Australia’s National Broadband Network on national security grounds.