Friday, 28 September 2018 12:37

Australia bid to push Huawei out of PNG cable project

By

Australia, along with Japan and the US, is once again trying to elbow out Chinese telecommunications company Huawei from building a cable system, this time an internal one in Papua New Guinea.

American charge d'affaires James Carouso told the ABC's AM program that the three countries were putting in a counter offer to wrest the cable contract which had been awarded to Huawei.

He said it was not a case of being against Chinese participation in such a project, but rather of providing a competitive option.

According to a report in The National, a PNG newspaper, on 10 August, the financing for the PNG Kumul domestic submarine cable project is being provided by the Exim Bank of China.

PNG Public Enterprises and State Investment Minister William Duma said the project was being built in preparation for the Coral Sea cable, which was to be built by Huawei, but is now being paid for by Australia and being built by the Vocus Group.

The Kumul cable will run from Port Moresby to Alotau, Popondetta, Lae and Madang, with the cost being about US$200 million.

The Coral Sea cable was awarded to Vocus after the intervention of the spy agency, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service. It will link PNG and the Solomons to Sydney.

In July 2017, it was reported that Australia was putting pressure on the Solomon Islands to withdraw from the project after the contract was awarded to Huawei.

Security concerns were said to be the reason why Australian officials had made the request which was, tellingly, conveyed to then Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare by Nick Warner, the director-general of the spy agency ASIS.

iTWire has contacted Huawei for comment.

Thanks to The Register for the links


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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