Australia, through the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP), is partnering with Japan and the United States to provide financing and implementation support to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati, and Nauru to improve internet connectivity to these three Pacific nations by providing funding to build a new undersea cable.
The proposed 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.
The project highlights Australia’s commitment to partnerships that jointly deliver on critical telecommunications infrastructure and contribute to reliable and secure internet for the region.
Grant financing contributions are under discussion between the funding partners.
This project represents a six-party collaboration between Australia, FSM, Japan, Kiribati, Nauru and the United States.
The national state-owned telecommunications operators identified to deliver the project on behalf of the Pacific governments are:
• the FSM Telecommunications Cable Corporation (FSMTCC);
• the BwebwerikiNET Limited (BNL) of Kiribati;
• and the Nauru Fibre Cable Corporation (NFCC).
The East Micronesia Cable will provide faster, high quality and more reliable internet to approximately 100,000 people across FSM, Kiribati and Nauru. The cable will improve connectivity and access to digital technologies.
While internet access is currently available through satellite connectivity, the capacity, speed, cost and reliability fall short of countries’ needs and limit economic and development opportunities. The new cable will help increase the availability of digital government services and enable increased trade and employment opportunities through better access to services, information and worldwide markets. It marks an important step in supporting increased economic growth and improved living standards as the region recovers from the severe impacts of COVID-19.