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Tonga gets hitched to Southern Cross

Alca-Lu lays the cable for island nation broadband boost

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A new US$18 million undersea cable project connecting the Kingdom of Tonga and Fiji to Australia and the US is under construction following the awarding of the contract to Alcatel-Lucent.

The Tonga Cable will deliver the fastest high-speed internet access that the island nations have ever experienced and leverage the international connectivity of the Southern Cross Cable network. The project is expected to be operational by March 2013.

Alcatel Lucent secured the competitive tender against rivals Huawei Marine Networks, NEC and TE Subcom.

Under the deal, Alcatel-Lucent will deploy its ubmarine optical solution based on the OALC-5 cables, repeaters and the 1620 Light Manager (LM) submarine line terminal which boasts 10G/40G/100G wavelengths in the same platform.

The installation will be performed by Alcatel-Lucent’s Ile de Ré cable ship, which is based in the region.

The project has been backed by a World Bank grant, approved in August, of US$17.2 million.

The Tonga Cable will link to the Southern Cross Cable System at the FINTEL cable station in Suva Fiji.

The 837-km link with Fiji will provide Tonga with access to the Southern Cross Cable, the main trans-Pacific link between Australia and the United States and aims to boost connectivity and substantially increase the availability of broadband services for Tonga’s 100,000 residents and help spur economic growth.®

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