Google has announced plans for the South Pacific Connect initiative which will deliver two new transpacific subsea cables to help increase the reliability and resilience of digital connectivity in Fiji and the Pacific.
Speaking to FijiLive, after Google announced its decision yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Communication Manoa Kamikamica said the Government had already been in talks with Google for over eight months, since February.
Kamikamica said the intention was to connect the US West Coast through to Hawaii, Fiji and Australia – Also, to connect with South America.
He confirmed that works have already started connecting the cables to Fiji – Which means transforming Fiji’s technological capabilities to the next level, making Fiji the technological hub in the Pacific.
“Through the connections also from South America, it is going to offer a redundancy capacity to most Pacific Islands – meaning it would make the Pacific more capable and resilient in terms of technology.
(In ICT, redundancy means the provision to duplicate, backup equipment or links that immediately take over the function of equipment or transmission lines that fail)
However, Google announced that the collaborations are with a number of partners, including Fiji International Telecommunications, Office of Posts and Telecommunications of French Polynesia, APTelecom and Vocus Group; the South Pacific Connect initiative will deliver new international subsea cables connecting Fiji and French Polynesia to both the United States and Australia.
Google VP Global Network Infrastructure, Brian Quigley said, the South Pacific Connect initiative will construct physically diverse cable landing stations in Fiji and French Polynesia and connect them with an interlink cable.
Quigley said this will serve to connect transpacific routes, improve reliability, add capacity, and reduce latency for users in the Pacific Islands and around the world.
“The South Pacific Connect initiative will create a ring between Australia, Fiji and French Polynesia. This ring will include pre-positioned branching units that will allow other countries and territories of Oceania to take advantage of the reliability and resilience resulting from the initiative.”
“This is one of the first projects of its kind in the Pacific, providing the ability to bring redundant international connectivity to a region that is susceptible to natural disasters,” Quigley said.
The Deputy Prime Minister said that for Fiji, this creates more potential in terms of ICT – it creates more job opportunities, it also create the environment to set up data warehouses in Fiji and others relating to ICT.
“This is also a potential that Fiji’s economy grows, creating an opportunity for Fiji,” Kamikamica added.
The Government is expected to make an announcement next Monday.