The Coral Sea Cable System (CS2) connects both Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Solomon Islands to the major East Coast Internet Hub at Sydney, Australia. The Coral Sea Cable System (CS2) consists of 4 fibre pairs, with 2 fibre pairs from Sydney to Port Moresby and Honiara, respective capital cities of PNG and the Solomon Islands, yielding up to 20Tbps to each of the South Pacific countries.
The Coral Sea Cable System (CS2) has been ready for service as of December 12, 2019. The system is the first subsea cable landing in the Solomon Islands, it will provide significant improvements in internet reliability and quality in the Solomon Islands, as well as PNG. Here comes more information about the Coral Sea Cable System (CS2).
CS2 System Design
The CS2 cable consists of 4 fibre pairs in its trunk from Sydney over 2500 km to a Branching Unit in the Coral Sea, where the 4 pair pairs are then split into two cables each containing 2 fibre pairs that make their way to Cable Landing Stations in Port Moresby and Honiara.
The CS2 cable system is designed with 100G DWDM technology, with a total system capacity up to 40Tbps.
CS2 Project Funding
The CS2 cable project is co-funded by the Governments of the Commonwealth of Australia, PNG and Solomon Islands under the terms of an MOU signed on 11th July 2011. Australia Government grants funding 66.7% of the total cost. Solomon Islands and PNG contribute the remaining.
The CS2 cable project is majority funded by the Australian Government.
The Australian Government funding is part of a push to block a subsidiary of Chinese company Huawei from rolling out a cable system connecting PNG and the Solomon Islands to Sydney.
Huawei Marine signed a contract with the Solomon Island Submarine Cable Company (SISCC) to construct the first submarine cable in the Solomon Islands. The submarine cable intents to link Sydney to the capital Honiara, with a further domestic connection from Honiara to Auki and Noro.
Having a Chinese enterprise connecting up to a piece of critical domestic infrastructure is pretty unpalatable for the Australian Government. So, the Australian Government blocked Huawei Marine from conducting the agreement and raised its own solution and funding aid instead.
CS2 Landing Parties
According to SISCC, Telstra is the Landing Party for the Sydney Landing. The CS2 cable system is installed in Telstra's Paddington Exchange in Sydney. The CS2 submarine cable lands at Tamarama Beach in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs and utilises Telstra land duct across Sydney to Paddington.
The Solomon Islands Government contribution is made through The Solomon Islands Submarine Cable Company Limited (SISCC). SISCC is the landing party and signed the Solomon Islands Landing Party Agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia on 13th June 2018. Under this Agreement, SISCC constructs all the landing party infrastructure in Solomon Islands ready for the CS2 cable system. SISCC is a joint venture company incorporated in the Solomon Islands in August 2016. The shareholders of SISCC are the Investment Corporation of the Solomon Islands (ICSI) with 51% of the share capital and The Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (SINPF) with 49% of the share capital. It is therefore a 100% government backed company who will own and operate Submarine Cable services in the Solomon Island territory.
PNG DataCo Limited (PNG DataCo) is the landing party in PNG, and also signed the Landing Party Agreement for PNG with the Commonwealth of Australia. PNG DataCo was established in February 2014 as part of the PNG National Government’s plan to restructure and transform the Telecommunication Industry. PNG DataCo has been tasked with building the National Transmission Network (NTN) that will provide wholesale non-discriminatory telecommunications transmission services using existing Government owned assets through rationalization of existing wholesale assets and new capital works to extend the backbone network to the other provincial capitals. PNG DataCo now operates and manages over 2100 Km fibre optic network comprising of both terrestrial and submarine cables, including the CS2 cable system and the Kumul Submarine Domestic Fiber Cable Network.
CS2 System Vendors
Vocus Communications is the prime contractor under an Engineering, Procurement and Construction Contract (EPC) for the CS2 cable system. The Australian Government awarded Vocus Communications a $136.6 million contract to build the Coral Sea Cable System.
Vocus Communications sub-contracted Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) to construct and install the CS2 cable system. The project was completed in 12 December 2019. And the CS2 cable system has been ready for service.
CS2 System Ownership
According to SISCC, the CS2 cable system is owned and operated by a Special Purpose Vehicle Company based in Australia. It will be owned equally by The Commonwealth of Australia, SISCC and PNG DataCo, although The Commonwealth of Australia funded 66.7% majority of the whole system cost. PNG DataCo and SISCC each is granted Indefeasible Rights of Use (IRU) over 2 fibre pairs for the full lifetime of the CS2 Cable system (25 years).