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This section outlines official Press and Media Statements issued by the Ministry of Information and Communications in addition to Press Releases from the Prime Minister's Office and other Government Ministries and Departments.

Contract for the Submarine Cable System for Tonga Signed Today

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10 May 2012 The contract for laying of the submarine cable system from Fiji to Tonga has been signed today, 10 May 2012, between the Tonga Cable Limited (TCL, a fully-owned Government public enterprise to manage the cable system) and the winning contractor - Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Network (ASN, a cable company of France). Signing the contract were the Interim Managing Director of TCL, Mr. Robert Bolouri, and the Vice President of the ASN Marine and Line Operation, Mr. Michel Bouvard.

On November 23, 2011, the Tongan Government announced the bidding results of suppliers who tendered for the procurement of Submarine Cable System between Tonga and Fiji, where the successful bidder was awarded to the Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN).

As part of Phase 1 of the Pacific Regional Connectivity Program for the Tonga-Fiji Connectivity Project, the Tonga Cable Limited conducted a thorough evaluation of all the tendered documents including bidders from the Huawei Marine Networks (China), NEC (Japan) and TE Subcom (USA).

The World Bank and Asian Development Bank have endorsed Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Network to do the work for laying the cable, at a bid price of USD $18.9 million, against a total grant of USD$26.2 million (for the cable system).

This work is expected to start this month from Fiji, and the in-service operation of the cable system is expected by about June next year, 2013.

The underwater fiber optic cable will connect Tonga to the Southern Cross Cable, the main trans-Pacific link between Australia and the United States. The establishment and operation of the 827-km submarine cable system will provide Tonga's population of 100,000 with affordable, accessible, information and communication technology, and broadband services.

At the same time, the construction of the Landing Station for the cable system at Sopu is expected to be completed by August this year.

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) is responsible for the communication's sector policy and regulation, and plays an active role in coordinating the project with the Executing Agency (Ministry of Finance and National Planning), the Implementing Agency (TCL), and the World Bank and ADB. The Prime Minister and Minister for Information and Communications, Lord Tu'ivakano, issued TCL licence in October last year, 2011, as a wholesale operator only, allowing the existing telecom operators and Internet Service providers to be connected to the cable system and to provide a competitive and affordable retail price to the public.

ENDS

Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, May 2012.

Ministry of Information and Communications: Level 2, O.G. Sanft Building, Taufa'ahau Road, Nuku'alofa,  P.O. Box 1380, Nuku'alofa, Tonga.  Telephone:  (676) 28-170     Fax:  (676) 24861   Email: enquiries@mic,giv.to Website: www.mic.gov.to

 
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