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A 16,149-kilometre Southern Cross NEXT submarine cable will bring improved internet performance, resilience, and affordability to Tokelau.

Technical teams visited the three Tokelau atolls of Fakaofo, Nukunonu, and Atafu recently to assess a number of sites to home the cable landing station facilities. Construction on the stations is expected to begin in 2020.

Tokelau's Minister of Communications Mose Pelasio says the Southern Cross NEXT submarine cable will open up a whole new world of opportunities for Tokelau. “The cable will mean Tokelauans will be able to connect on a more regular basis with friends and family around the world but more importantly it will give enhanced opportunities for learning and support in the education and health sectors,” Mr. Pelasio said.

The Administrator of Tokelau, Mr. Ross Ardern hopes the cable will also support Tokelauan culture. “I would like to see what opportunities might be available in using the capacity of the cable to promote the language and culture of Tokelau both on the atolls and globally,” Mr. Ardern said.

The cable will connect Tokelau’s three atolls to Australia, New Zealand and the west coast of the USA. Fiji and Kiritimati Island in Kiribati will also be connected.

The project is being delivered in collaboration with the Telecommunications Tokelau Corporation and Southern Cross Cables. The Tokelau cable spur is co-funded by New Zealand and the Government of Tokelau and is expected to be ready for service by January 2022. The Tokelau submarine cable is part of New Zealand’s wider aid support to provide all Realm countries with improved connectivity.

The Cook Islands and Niue will be connected through the Manatua cable which is on schedule to be operational in 2020.

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