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Google announces plans to build subsea cables that will connect central Pacific



By Pacific Island Times News Staff



Google announced plans for the central Pacific Connect initiative, which will deliver two new intra-Pacific cables — Bulikula and Halaihai — in collaboration with Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH), APTelecom, and Telstra to increase digital connectivity in the central Pacific.


Bulikula will connect Guam with Fiji and is the Fijian word for “golden cowrie,” a rare shell found in the Pacific Ocean often worn by local chieftains as a badge of rank. Halaihai, which will link Guam and French Polynesia, is named after a type of vine that grows on beaches.


The word is often used in the Chamorro expression, “tilifón halaihai,” which refers to information spread from person to person, whether face-to-face, by phone, or over the internet.


Building on the South Pacific Connect initiative announced in October, the central Pacific Connect initiative will create a ring between Guam, French Polynesia and Fiji. This ring will include pre-positioned branching units that will allow other countries and territories of Oceania to take advantage of the reliability and resilience resulting from the initiative.


Once operational, Bulikula and Halaihai will join Guam’s existing subsea cable portfolio — which includes Apricot, Echo, and Taiwan-Philippines-U.S. — accelerating the island’s position as a growing gateway for international connectivity.


The government of Guam has long prioritized bridging the digital divide, with key programs like its five-year action plan to expand internet access to more Guam residents and commitment to strengthening the island’s telecommunications infrastructure.


“Beyond bridging the digital divide in our local community, this is Guam’s contribution — enabling new digital infrastructure such as subsea cables — to create and support connectivity between the northern and southern Pacific islands,” said Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero. “Our economic futures are all dependent on digital technology, and we welcome the Halaihai and the Bulikula subsea cables to uplift our people together.”


“The announcement of the central Pacific Connect initiative gives every indication for a well-connected Region aligned to the Pacific Leaders vision for 2050,"  said Manoa Kamikamica, Fiji's deputy prime minister and communications minister. "The Bulikula and Halaihai subsea cables will underpin the Pacific peoples' digital interconnectedness and lead the way for economic transformation through digital connectivity.”


"Looking at a map, my country’s location at the center of the great Pacific Ocean spells 'connectivity.' I am therefore enthusiastic that Google has chosen to add Guam and Chile to the growing hub of submarine cables connected to Tahiti. A world better connected is a better world," said President Moetai Brotherson of French Polynesia.


"APTelecom has a fundamental objective of increasing the reliability and resilience of digital links in the Pacific. We are pleased to be collaborating with Google, Telstra and our island partners, driving together to accelerate and consolidate the delivery of connectivity solutions that will reduce the digital divide," said Eric Handa, CEO of APTelecom.


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