Australia, through the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP), has partnered with Japan and the United States to support the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati, and Nauru in their efforts to improve internet connectivity to these three Pacific nations by providing funding and implementation support to build a new submarine cable and supporting infrastructure.
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. 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.
The total value of the project is estimated at $135 million (USD95 million equivalent). The project is 100 per cent grant funded.
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 supplier of the marine cable contract is NEC Corporation.
The East Micronesia Cable will provide faster, higher quality and more reliable internet to more than 100,000 people across FSM, Kiribati and Nauru. 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 continues to recover from the severe impacts of COVID-19.