Avaroa Cable and Vodafone Cook Islands have signed a multi-year partnership for use of the Manatua Cable.
The deal will see Vodafone place Manatua cable connectivity at the heart of their ambitious plans to transform connectivity in the Cook Islands.
The companies announced that Aitutaki would be the first to benefit with services already transferred to the cable. The development makes Vodafone, Avaroa and the Cook Islands the first to make use of the 3600km Manatua One Polynesia cable, which was completed only last month.
The companies ensured that users were transferred seamlessly onto the new infrastructure. Fibre connectivity put in place between the two company’s facilities earlier in the year for testing meant the transition was both quick and efficient.
The cable replaces satellite connectivity that had previously connected the island and makes Aitutaki, with a population of just 1700, one of the smallest fibre connected islands in the world.
The announcement coincides with Avaroa Cable becoming the first company to be awarded a telecommunications operating license under the new Cook Islands Competition and Regulatory Authority Act 2019.
The new connection will be followed by new international connectivity for the Cook Islands over the Manatua cable into Rarotonga, from which Aitutaki will also benefit. This was expected to come into place in a matter of weeks and would be the subject of a separate announcement.
The Cook Islands’ involvement in the Manatua Cable Project has been supported by a grant from the New Zealand Aid Programme and a development loan from the Asian Development Bank.
Mark Brown, Deputy Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, said: “The Manatua cable is a crucial investment for the Cook Islands and is all the more timely at this very challenging time. Our future prosperity as a nation will depend a great deal on technology and how we use it. This important piece of technology infrastructure will provide our people with better opportunities to climb the technology ladder and fast track the growth of our knowledge economy.”
Phill Henderson, Chief Executive Officer Vodafone Cook Islands, said: “The Manatua cable positions us well as we continue our push in taking the Cook Islands into a new digital society. Vodafone is pleased to be the anchor customer and the first to use the Manatua service commercially. We can now leverage the improved performance of the Cable system to provide a better customer experience and will be advising customers of the benefits that the additional Manatua capacity will provide.”