The permitting regime in Guam is a little more complicated than in Australia. The requirements aim to cover the same issues as Australia but the party needs to contact the various federal and regional agencies independently, rather than going to one authority who handles all the consultation.
To land and operate a fibre-optic cable system connecting the United States to another country it is necessary to first obtain an FCC licence. As PPC-1 will connect Guam, a US territory, with Australia and Papua New Guinea, PIPE International must obtain such a licence to operate PPC 1. With the assistance of our Washington-based US law firm, PIPE International submitted its application for the FCC licence in February.
In late February we travelled to Washington to introduce Pipe International and PPC-1 to ‘Team Telecom’, the informal nickname given to the various US agencies who review new telecommunications applications with foreign ownership.The Team Telecom agencies include the Departments of Justice, Defence and Homeland Security, as well as the FBI. As is probably clear from the identity of its constituent agencies, Team Telecom’s focus is on US national security, law enforcement and public safety interests. The conclusion of the consultation process is the entry into a security agreement with the Team Telecom agencies. Pipe International continues to consult with Team Telecom and negotiate the security agreement.
The regional permitting in Guam has been made easier for PPC-1 by virtue of the fact that we will be using existing landing infrastructure to reach the Cable Landing Station. This means that there is very little excavation and construction to do. We can also land our cable without having to disturb the reef shelf that surrounds the landing site near Piti.
Permits in Guam rely on approval from 6 or 7 different agencies (Guam Coastal Management Program, US Army, Dept Lands, Guam EPA, Dept Public Works, Dept Parks). Application is made to all agenices simultaneously.
The key regional permits for PPC-1 are issued by the US Army Corps of Engineers. They cover general project information such as location for work, spoil removal from excavations, reasons for the project, as well as section 10 and section 404 permits covering the Rivers and Harbours and Clean water Acts.
For PPC-1, approval is only required from the Army and the Guam Coastal Management Program as we are using exsiting duct infrastructure to land the cable.