The Government today signed a historic memorandum of understanding with Huawei International that will see the commerce of the undersea cable project, which is expected to be operational by early 2019.

Speaking this morning, the Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare said the government recognizes the importance of the capability (of fast internet/ICT) and gives full support for the development of the system by Solomon Islands Submarine Cable Company Ltd (SISCC) in order to see the system operational by 2019.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SISCC Keir Preedy said they are now focusing on launching new equipment (completion of cable) between March and May 2019.

Today’s MOU sees Huawei pledging its support to the development of the undersea cable by SISCC and also enables the SISCC board to sign with the main supplier contract which is Huawei to build and install the submarine cable from Solomon Islands to Australia.

According to Preedy it will take around 12 months to manufacture the cable and in that period Huawei will carry out a marine survey which includes tracking the route from start to finish that will guide them to the exact location of the cable. On their part, SISCC will be working with its partners in Solomon Islands and Australia on the landing stations.

The cable ship will start pulling the cable from Malaita and Western Provinces (spurs) on to Honiara before connecting back to Sydney.

According to Preedy, they already have the landing agreement with Telstra and are now working on permit that will allow them to cross into Australian waters.

“That will take around a month,” he said.

President, Huawei Southern Pacific Region, David Wei  said they are working hard to connect the islands.

He said in the past, islands were connected with ships to the rest of the world and now ICT is the foundation to connecting the people.

Mr Wei said Huawei is a good partner as it gives more attention to the island countries.

Meanwhile SBM understands that the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (SINPF) is now the other partner in the new company apart from the Investment Corporation of Solomon Islands (ICSI).

Huawei rep David Wei signing.

The cable will be pulled from Honiara to Sydney. Prior to that the cable will be laid to the provincial spurs in Malaita and Western Province before it starts from Honiara to Sydney.

The cable takes about 12 months to manufacture. During that period we will be doing work at our end here on landing stations and also in Australia with Telstra.

Marine survey which includes tracking the route from start to finish, which will guide them to the exact location of the cable. Then loaded on to large cable ship and ship will sail to SI to do the domestic spur first then from Honiara to Sydney.

We have landing agreement with Telstra and we just working the permit zone permit allows you to cross Australian waters