In a bid to bolster digital connectivity and enhance the resilience of Pacific networks, Google has unveiled its ambitious South Pacific Connect initiative.
The project aims to lay down two groundbreaking transpacific subsea cables – Honomoana and Tabua – facilitating digital communications between the US, Australia, Fiji, and French Polynesia.
This venture – a collaboration with partners including Fiji International Telecommunications, Office of Posts and Telecommunications of French Polynesia, APTelecom, and Vocus Group – comes at a time when subsea cables are being increasingly targeted by rogue states.
One of the distinctive features of the South Pacific Connect initiative is the construction of diverse cable landing stations in Fiji and French Polynesia, linked by an interlink cable.
This ring – encompassing Australia, Fiji, and French Polynesia – will not only bolster connectivity but also provide a crucial backup in case of sabotage or natural disasters, a vital step in a region susceptible to such events.
Honomoana and Tabua
Named after the Polynesian words for “link” and “ocean,” Honomoana will span from the US and Australia to French Polynesia.
Tabua, named after a sacred Fijian artefact, will connect the US and Australia to Fiji.
Both cables are set to significantly enhance connectivity and reduce latency for users in the Pacific Islands and beyond.
Leaders across the Pacific region have expressed their enthusiasm for this transformative initiative.
Sitiveni Rabuka, Prime Minister of Fiji, said: “The Government of Fiji is delighted to partner with Google in achieving this momentous milestone to bolster digital connectivity and resilience.
“Our shared vision is to pave the way for a more interconnected and fortified digital future not only for Fiji but also for the entire Pacific region and beyond. Through this partnership, we aim to leave behind a lasting legacy of economic growth, skill development, and progress that extends its benefits to all.”
President Moetai Brotherson of French Polynesia echoed these sentiments, emphasising Google’s vital role in the digital development of the region.
“The government of French Polynesia has chosen the digital economy as one of the four key sectors for economic and social development,” commented Brotherson. “We could not wish for a better partner than Google in this endeavour,”
Empowering communities and businesses
Beyond the technological advancements, the introduction of these subsea cables carries profound implications for the Pacific communities.
Improved internet affordability and reliability translate to enhanced economic development and increased productivity. Businesses can better serve their customers, while individuals gain access to digital services that can open doors to new skills and career opportunities.
Google’s South Pacific Connect initiative is a testament to collaborative innovation. By bridging digital divides and enhancing connectivity, the project can deliver a brighter digital future for the Pacific and the world.
(Image Credit: Google Cloud)
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