Updated: Dec 14, 2021
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The United States, Australia and Japan will pitch in to fund a new undersea cable that will connect the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati and Nauru.
According to a statement released by the State Department, the proposed undersea cable will provide faster, higher quality, and more reliable and secure communications to approximately 100,000 people across three countries.
The project aims to bolster economic growth, drive development opportunities and help to improve living standards as the region recovers from the severe impacts of Covid-19, officials said.
The new cable will connect Kosrae (FSM), Nauru, and Tarawa (Kiribati) with the existing HANTRU-1 cable at Pohnpei (FSM), providing internet connectivity through a submarine cable for the first time.
Improved connectivity and access to digital technologies can provide significant economic and social benefits and are key enablers of sustainable development.
They also help increase the availability of digital government services, particularly in education and health, and provide businesses and households with improved access to services, information and trade, and employment opportunities.
"This six-country collaboration highlights our commitment to work together on critical telecommunications infrastructure and contribute to reliable and secure internet for the region," the State Department said.
Funding for the project will be coordinated with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
More than an infrastructure investment, officials said, the project "represents an enduring partnership to deliver practical and meaningful solutions at a time of unprecedented economic and strategic challenges in our region. This project builds on the strong foundations of trilateral collaboration between Australia, Japan, and the United States in the Indo-Pacific, including support for Palau’s undersea cable.
"It is a further demonstration of our shared commitment to quality, transparent, fiscally sustainable, catalytic infrastructure partnerships with, and between, Pacific nations," the statement read. "These partnerships meet genuine needs, respect sovereignty, and complement the Trilateral Infrastructure Partnership and the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative. Trilateral partners will continue to work together to promote an open, inclusive and resilient region."