New H2 Sydney–Hong Kong submarine cable could provide branch line to Papua New Guinea


PNG DataCo is in discussions with the operators of the new H2 undersea cable being laid between Sydney and Hong Kong. A branch line into Papua New Guinea could open up greater global connectivity as well as lower prices and improved reliability.

The proposed H2 cable system. Credit: SubCom

Privately-owned, Singapore-based H2 Cable and US marine telco infrastructure specialist SubCom have announced they will lay a fibreoptic internet link from Australia to Hong Kong, with possible branch lines to Lae, Madang, Port Moresby and Honiara in Solomon Islands, as well as Taiwan, Guam, Queensland, Hawaii and Los Angeles.

Another planned cable, between Sydney and Los Angeles, could effectively extend the Hong Kong-to-Sydney cable, via a route to the north of New Caledonia.

Second cable

The Sydney-to-Hong Kong cable could be the second newly-laid international cable that PNG will have access to, after the Coral Sea Cable (CSC), a 4,700km system linking Sydney to Port Moresby and Honiara, scheduled to begin operating later this year.

‘The Coral Sea Cable coming in from Australia will give a huge boost to the capacity for the internet,’ Lowy Institute analyst Shane McLeod tells Business Advantage PNG, ‘and this new potential for a path into Asia through Hong Kong would mean there’s an opportunity for providers to look at how they connect and how they manage their costs of pathways to global services.’

‘The H2 cable would substantially boost capacity and provide increased competition.’

McLeod says the H2 cable would provide a ‘great opportunity’ to get more bandwith into areas outside of Port Moresby and Lae as well as lowering costs.

Story continues after advertisment...

The H2 cable, if connected to PNG, would also provide a valuable back up (redundancy) should something happen with the Coral Sea Cable.


The Coral Sea Cable will increase capacity a thousand-fold, from the current 21 gigabytes to 20 terabytes. The H2 cable, if connected, would add another 15 terabytes.

H2 Chairman Remi Galasso tells Business Advantage PNG that the main landing sites (Sydney and Hong Kong) are due for completion in 2022 at a cost of US$380 million.

‘Having that domestic network connected to more international points means the benefits will be greater for more of PNG. Particularly if those international connections come into the network beyond just Port Moresby.’

Paul Komboi, Managing Director of PNG Dataco, which is responsible for the country’s National Transmission Network (NTN) and creating international connection points, confirmed that the state-owned entity has been in discussions with H2 about landing points in PNG.

DataCo’s Paul Komboi. Credit: DataCo

‘DataCo will be exploring all options which will be able to give us the best technological solution, service with good pricing.

‘We will also explore business opportunities with them,’ he tells Business Advantage PNG.

Mobile competition

McLeod says he expects the existing Internet Service Providers (ISPs)—including Digicel, Telikom and bmobile/Vodafone—to get access to the H2 undersea cable lines and that DataCo should expect to monitor pricing to ensure that customers benefit from the anticipated lower costs of both new cable links.

He says Digicel had to build its own mobile network when it entered the PNG market in 2007, which was a disincentive for new players to come into PNG.

‘But that could all change, once the two new cables are up and running.’

‘With the NTN in place, with two undersea cables connecting PNG to the world, it will be easier for foreign telcos to enter the PNG market.’

Leave a Reply