Mālo ni, Kia Ora and hello! Welcome everyone and many thanks to Te Ulu o Tokelau, the Tokelau Administrator, Honourable Ministers, and the Nukunonu Faipule and Pulenuku.
I would also like to thank Teletok and the local stakeholders who have all engaged with Southern Cross and helped guide the project to make it a reality and made todays celebration possible.
I would like to firstly apologise for not being here in person, but as we are all aware in the current situation, the safety and security of our people and communities must be our top priorities. I hope that one day I, and members of the Southern Cross team, will once again be able to travel and visit the beautiful islands of Tokelau.
I would like to express our sincere thanks to the people of Tokelau for the wonderful support and friendship shown to Barry, Jacky and other members of our installation team when they were recently on the Island. We could not have asked for better or kinder care of our people, and Barry has no end of praise for the kindness and friendship he and his team were shown when here.
We are of course here to celebrate a very special milestone for Southern Cross and the Southern Cross NEXT project which marks a very important development not only for us but also the continuing development and connectivity of the Pacific Region. Southern Cross NEXT is a 15,000km four fibre pair, fibre optic system which will interconnect Takapuna, Sydney, and Los Angeles and critically also provide a high-speed digital path for Fiji, Kiribati, and of course Tokelau, providing the first direct fibre optic link between New Zealand and Tokelau. The system will also provide the international connection for the upcoming Tokelau Domestic System.
This cable marine landing is a significant milestone, and after one more installation trip, the final ready for service of the system is scheduled for April next year. We’re very pleased to be part of marking this major milestone, which has been around 5 years in the making and is a hugely complex project.
At the end of the project, it is our hope to not just leave a cable system, but to more importantly have helped the islands of Tokelau on your journey of being part of a more interconnected Pacific, and we are proud to have Teletok as our Landing Party, and as part of our Southern Cross family and we look forward to many years of working constructively together.
We’ve all seen and heard of COVID forcing people and businesses online more often, as well as a general increase in people’s appetite for digital technology through things like streaming, demand for data growing significantly each year in many parts of the world.
So thank you so much again to the people of Tokelau, your leaders and Ministers, and to Teletok and the Project Management Unit who have all played critical roles in helping Southern Cross
and our supplier Alcatel Submarine Networks to this point, we’re very much looking forward to the launch of the Southern Cross NEXT system in 2022 so we can support what’s ahead.