OPT Places First Buoy for Picot 2 in New Caledonia

The first part of the new Gondwana 2 and Picot 2 submarine cable was installed this Wednesday, March 16, in Nouméa during a landing ceremony.By Lorelei Aubry and Cedria Michaut
March 22, 2022

It is a project costing nearly 4.5 billion francs, which should make it possible to increase and secure the New Caledonian Internet. The first part of the new Gondwana 2 and Picot 2 submarine cable was installed this Wednesday, March 16, in Nouméa during a landing ceremony.

This Wednesday, March 16, the first Picot 2 landing buoy. A symbolic step, to inaugurate the start of the laying of this new fiber optic cable , which will connect all of the Loyalty Islands to Grande Terre, and the South of the territory.

Delivered by a cable ship, the powerful pipe is then taken in hand by the teams of Alcatel submarine networks, which takes care of all the settings.

” Now that we have pulled the cable out to the beach, we are going to connect a hawser further on the cable. This will allow us to bring back the necessary slack in the cable, which will go into the connection chamber. Once in the connection chamber, we will carry out tests, then we will sink the cable by removing the buoys, once the cable is secure on the bottom we will be able to carry out tests and check that there is no problem on the cable. splicers will be on site tomorrow to make the connection with the terrestrial cable which has already been connected to the Ouémo station ” , explains Antoine Poulain, marine project manager at the company “Alcatel submarine networks”.

Connecting Caledonia to Fiji

Concretely, the submarine line will connect Caledonia to Fiji. The local network will be powered via a loop. Objective: to secure Internet and telephone access throughout the territory, even in the event of a power cut.

” Remember the last cyclones, we had a cut at the level of the Tamoa. The North of the territory, the islands had been cut off for 18 to 24 hours to be able to repair and restore the connections. There, today, imagine that we have the same cut tomorrow at Tamoa, the traffic will go up by this cable, by the islands, to return to the north and go down again to the South “, explains Philippe Gervolino, general manager of the OPT-NC.

Bridging the digital divide

Total cost of the operation: 4.47 billion francs, partly financed by the State and the OPT. An investment as expensive as necessary, at a time of unbridled acceleration of exchanges on the internet. However, exchanges do not take place at the same pace everywhere. For example, the Isle of Pines, Maré and Yaté are not yet served by fiber optics, but only by microwave links.

” This is something that will be at the service of Caledonians and which will make it possible to reduce the digital divide throughout Caledonia. To support companies in their future development, and in particular in the digital sector “, assures Yoann Lecourieux, Chairman of the OPT-NC Board of Directors.

Commissioning is scheduled for next August.

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