Bridging the digital divide in the Cook Islands

Cook Islands’ Avaroa Cable Limited (ACL) has revealed its selection of Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP to further improve the nation’s ICT via turnkey provision from Samoa to Australia.

The state-owned enterprise funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme and the Asian Development Bank is a member of the Manatua – One Polynesia cable consortium, connecting French Polynesia, Rarotonga and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, Niue and Samoa since 2020.

Under the multi-million dollar deal announced September 20, Hawaiki will provide international capacity to ACL from the Manatua cable termination point in Apia, Samoa to Sydney, Australia. The turn-key solution combines multiple subsea links, including the Samoa to American Samoa cable and the American Samoa branch to Hawaiki cable.

The agreement will further secure trans-Pacific connectivity into the future, provide critical diversity to help drive ACL’s wholesale business and deliver fast, reliable broadband to local operators in the Cook Islands. It also marks a key step in the development of the Cook Islands’ digital economy, with important new e-services in critical sectors such as health and education now anticipated.

More broadly, Hawaiki CEO, Remi Galasso said the agreement is an important milestone for boosting international connectivity, not just in the Cook Islands, but the wider South Pacific region as well.

“Submarine cable assets are increasingly seen as critical to bridging the digital divide in the Pacific Islands and provide further development opportunities to businesses and communities in remote areas,” he noted.

“We look forward to collaborating with Avaroa Cable to bring this vision to life, and building further on their great work transforming communications throughout the Cook Islands via the deployment of future-proof and open-access subsea connectivity.”

Mike Schwarz, CEO of Avaroa Cable, said: “ACL is very excited to have successfully achieved this key milestone and to now be able to offer this additional capacity to our wholesale customers. We see this investment as an important enabler to improve resilience and deliver more connectivity to meet the increasing demand by consumers in the Cook Islands. We believe this new partnership is going to greatly benefit businesses and the local community.”