Work Underway To Bring Public Access To Fibre Optic Cable Ahead Of Schedule

In May 2023, testing and commissioning works for the Equiano fibre optic cable were completed, one month ahead of schedule, meaning that the Island’s connection is now live and ready to be used.

In anticipation of this, SHG and OneWeb negotiated a lease for a new earth station at Horse Point, which was signed at the end of June. This development paves the way for future revenue generation for the taxpayer and further employment opportunities within the community.

The government has committed to providing the wider public with access to the cable by January 2024. This was anticipated to be the point at which the new publicly owned Island-wide network would be completed, and would be the beginning of a new operator licence term. Due to delays in finalising designs for the new network, it is now accepted that it will not be completed by January 2024.

With a view to providing immediate benefits to the community whilst work on the new network continues, SHG has entered into negotiations with Sure South Atlantic (Sure). These will seek to deliver much faster speeds and expanded data allowances to consumers, at a reduced cost, by connecting to the now live Equiano cable as soon as possible.

As Sure’s current operator licence period expires in December 2023, an extension of this will also be discussed.

Discussions have already begun and all parties hope to be able to share news on the outcome of these in the coming weeks.

On these negotiations, Minister for Treasury, Infrastructure and Sustainable Development Mark Brooks said:

“We all know how important the cable is to the future of the Island. Led by the Chief Secretary, various programme groups are working to deliver the remaining work streams under this high priority project. I and my fellow Ministers have provided very clear direction to the community and to SHG officials as to what needs to result from this work. Significant resource has been committed by Ministers, including specialist support from industry experts. We now need to make sure that this turns into concrete results for everyone.”

“This government has committed to addressing the Island’s digital poverty and exclusion. Working with Sure to allow consumers to access the cable now will make a significant contribution to this, with even more to come in the future.”

Sure Chief Executive for St Helena, Christine Thomas, said:

“The Equiano fibre cable will provide the entire community with improved connectivity, the exciting benefits of which include faster speeds and larger capacity. We are working in the spirit of partnership with the St Helena Government and firmly believe that our dedicated on-Island team, supported by the wider expertise of the Sure Group, will be able to quickly realise the long-anticipated benefits of Equiano.”

“The speeds and capacity of fibre introduce potentially transformational changes for connectivity in St Helena, and we look forward to working with the government and announcing some concrete steps in the coming weeks to connect the whole community.

#StHelena #IsolationConnected


27 July 2023

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470