Tuesday, 27 November 2018 18:52

PNG says will stick with Huawei for Internet project Featured

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PNG says will stick with Huawei for Internet project Pixabay

A minister in the Papua New Guinea government has said that his country will honour the agreement it has made with Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies to build its Internet infrastructure, snubbing offers by the US, Japan and Australia to step in instead.

William Duma, the minister for public enterprise and state investment, told  Reuters on Monday that PNG had an existing agreement with Huawei to build the infrastructure in question.

Huawei won the contract two years ago but the US, Australia and Japan attempted to take on the task recently. The deal was for an 5457-km network of submarine cables that would link 14 coastal towns in PNG.

Duma dismissed the offer from the US, Japan and Australia as patronising, adding that Huawei had already completed nearly two-thirds of the work.

The US, Australia and Japan said during the recent APEC summit, held in Port Moresby, that they would fund a rollout of electricity and cable in PNG.

The move comes in the wake of what the US and its allies describe as moves by China to expand its influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

An agreement to deliver the project was signed on 18 November, according to reports.

Reuters quoted Jonathan Pryke, a member of the Sydney-based think-tank, the Lowy Institute, as saying that the signing of the agreement meant that that the US and the others were not completely locked out.

Contacted for comment, a Huawei spokesperson told iTWire: "Huawei has a proud history of delivering world leading technology to PNG safely and securely for over 10 years.

"We look forward to continuing to work with our local partners to help give the people of PNG access to the world's best technology."

Australia intervened in a cable project in the Solomon Islands last year that was to be built by Huawei.

In the end, Canberra ended up taking on the task in April and contracted a local company, Vocus Communications, to built the undersea cable that would touch Sydney, the Solomon Islands and PNG.

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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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