Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs has signed a deal with the Vocus Group for the initial stages of a new undersea cable system between the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Australia, displacing Huawei, which had been originally chosen but resulted in concerns over security matters.
Per multiple media reports, a statement from the Vocus Group—which did not mention Huawei—said that the agreement is a $2.8 million deal for conducting a scoping study for the design, construction and procurement of the submarine cable system, the first step of the project. Vocus designed and developed the North-West Cable System and the Australia-Singapore Cable, the latter project was still under construction while the former project was up and running.
As previously reported in WJI, the Solomon Islands and China’s Huawei announced last year that they had signed a contract for the prosubsea ject. That news was not well received as Huawei had been banned from tendering for the National Broadband Network in 2012 because of security concerns. In Australia, nearly six years ago, Huawei was denied any role in supplying equipment to the country’s national broadband network project, following advice by ASIS, one of Australia’s spy agencies.