Undersea Internet Cable Linking Australia, Solomon Islands In Doubt

A $100 million USD submarine internet cable is in dispute on Monday following complaints by local land owners.By Xinhua
June 25, 2018

SYDNEY, June 25 (Xinhua) — A 100-million-U.S. dollar submarine internet cable, which could potentially provide the Solomon Islands with high speed internet, is in dispute on Monday following complaints by local land owners.

With compensation being demanded for use of their land, the project's already ambitious completion date forecast for the end of 2019 appears at risk.

“The foreshore belongs to my tribe,” chief of the Haubata tribe and the last living trustee of their land and waters Vincent Kurilau told local media.

“That means there will be monetary transaction involved before consenting to the project.”

Kurilau said he is open to dialogue, but if unsatisfied will take the matter to court.

As one of the last countries in the world not to be connected to a telecom cable, the Solomon Islands entered into a deal with the Australian government two weeks ago, to allow communications company Vocus the construction contract.

For people in the South Pacific nation, high speed internet would make life much easier.

“We need connectivity to the outside world,” managing director of the Bulk Shop supermarket chain in Honiara, Adam Bartlett said.

“It's one of the topics everyone talks about and one we can't wait for.”

“In our shops, 95 percent of purchases are cash, if we could move to more of a cashless society, that would add to the safety of our economy.”

“I would like to see greater adaptation of technology.”

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