Information Following the Decision taken by the Administrative Tribunal of New Caledonia (TANC) on 4 February 2021

The TANC rejected the contract cancellation application related to the roll-out and the provision of a submarine cable, submitted by the SCCI against the OPT-NC.

Through an application and a memorandum received on July 11 2020 and 9 December 2020, the “Société Calédonienne de Connectivité Internationale” (SCCI), asked the Administrative Tribunal of New Caledonia (TANC) to cancel the contract regarding the provision and the roll-out of a submarine cable aimed at securing New Caledonia’s international and domestic data transportation network, signed on 24 April 2020, by New Caledonia’s Postal and Telecommunication Service and the company Alcatel Submarine Network (ASN).

On 13 August 2020, as part of an emergency procedure, the Interim Relief Judge handed a decision stipulated in Court Order n°2000136, which rejected the cancelation application as well as all the defenses invoked by the SCCI, concluding that applicants were treated equally by the OPT-NC, in accordance with its obligations under the law.  In its decision dated 4 February 2021, regarding the substance of the dispute, the TANC rejected the SCCI’s request and condemn the company to pay 300.000 XPF each to both the OPT-NC and Alcatel Submarine Networks, in accordance with  Article L. 761-1 of the Code of Administrative Justice.

The OPT-NC  acknowledges this additional decision in its favor  following the decision of the  Paris Court of Appeal regarding the provisional measure taken by the Competition Authority and the decision taken by the TANC regarding the OPT-NC’s prices , which all reaffirm   the legality of the decisions taken by the OPT-NC’s Board and the legal framework regulating telecommunications in New Caledonia.

The implementation of the contract regarding the domestic and international securing of New Caledonia through a submarine cable has been undertaken by teams from the OPT-NC and ASN for the last few months and it is continuing.  

Authorizations necessary to finalize the layout of the cable have been obtained from New Caledonian, Fijian and Ni-Vanuatu authorities. The special purpose ship which will undertake the marine survey (bathymetrical measurements) will start its work from Fiji and towards New Caledonia in late February. The data collected will enable to complete the applications to be submitted to New Caledonian and Fijian authorities in the coming months, to obtain the final authorizations regarding the roll-out of the submarine cable. The cable is expected to be operational at some point during the first semester of 2022.