A second submarine cable will be installed from Port Vila in Vanuatu to Lifou in New Caledonia after a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the two governments.
New Caledonia president Louis Mapou and Vanuatu prime minister Bob Loughman signed the MOU which is designed to help both nations increase connectivity.
Vanuatu company Interchange Limited (ICL) is the bandwidth wholesaler in Vanuatu, and owner of AelanSat satellite service and subsea cable between Port Vila and Suva, Fiji.
ICL general manager Willie Karie said the signing was a big step towards internet connectivity, internet security and overseas expansion.
Mr Karie said the agreement showed the backing of both governments to facilitate ICL’s second marine cable to Lifou, New Caledonia.
ICL will work with the Office des Postes et Télécommunications de Nouvelle-Calédonie (OPT-NC) towards the initiative.
In April, ICL briefed the MSG Secretariat on progressing the Melanesian Cable Network. The benefits of this include standardised pricing across the region, better servicing of existing local telecommunications markets and attraction of more foreign investments.
Both governments put pen to paper, witnessed by government officials and other stakeholders.
Mr Karie confirmed that New Caledonia was keen to partner with Vanuatu on this project. He confirmed that the Landing Agreement was in place and the process would be completed next week.
ICL acknowledged the government and all partners for their support towards this initiative.
The external relations advisor to the president of the government of New Caledonia, Charles Wea, said the signing agreement followed a request to the New Caledonia Government to facilitate and secure the internet development in Vanuatu.
Mr Wea said they were happy to be part of the agreement. He added this was important for the people of both countries.
This means that both nations now had more than one cable running to its telecommunication service providers and both nations are hoping for better service when the cables are laid.
The MOU was signed by Vanuatu prime minister Bob Loughman and the president of territorial government of New Caledonia, Louis Mapou in Vanuatu.
The two nations have shared a warm relationship and are part of the Melanesian Spearhead Group for which the chairmanship was handed to Vanuatu by Papua New Guinea during the Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting.