Regional | Poverty, Regional Cooperation
Broadband Satellite for Remote Communities
With the launch of the Kacific1 satellite in December 2019, people in remote areas in Southeast Asia and the Pacific are now able to join the global online community and enjoy the benefits of internet connectivity. The satellite, owned by Singapore-based Kacific Broadband Satellites International Limited, was financed by ADB and its Leading Asia’s Private Infrastructure Fund, among other cofinanciers.
- ADB $25 million
- Kacific Broadband Satellites International Limited
- Financing Partner
- Leading Asia's Private Infrastructure Fund $25 million
- Other commercial lenders
30 November 2019
The Internet can be a powerful tool in bringing inclusive development, with known applications in providing better education and healthcare, improving agricultural production, and mitigating the impacts of disasters, among other uses. In the Asia Pacific, more than 2 billion people have yet to enjoy the benefits of broadband internet connections, particularly those in areas not reached by fiber optic or mobile phone networks. Difficult-to-reach areas, including islands in Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Pacific, are left unserved or underserved. Building the required infrastructure needs time and money.
In recent years, island countries in the Pacific have been successfully connected via submarine cable systems, but internet access is still only available in major cities and urban areas. For people in remote areas, the hope of finally getting connected to the Internet rests on satellite services. But such services, where available, can be too costly for the poor.
In 2019, ADB signed a loan agreement with Kacific Broadband Satellites International Limited to build, launch, and operate a communications satellite dedicated to providing low-cost, high-speed, reliable broadband internet in Asia and the Pacific. Kacific is a Singapore-based satellite operator committed to providing universal, affordable, and high-quality broadband access.
ADB’s Regional: Asia-Pacific Remote Broadband Internet Satellite Project is a $50-million financing, comprised of a $25 million loan from ADB’s own resources and a $25 million parallel loan from the ADB-administered Leading Asia’s Private Infrastructure Fund (LEAP), supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). This is ADB’s first venture in satellite financing.
“ADB’s role was key in getting this transaction closed,” Christian Patouraux, Kacific Founder and CEO said. “ADB’s involvement has helped secure the necessary financing for this highly developmental project. The benefits of connectivity are life-changing—from increased tourism, access to information, financial services, to healthcare and education for many remote communities in the region.”
The Asia-Pacific Remote Broadband Internet Satellite Project supports the construction, launch, and operation of Kacific1, a geostationary earth orbit, high throughput communications satellite that would bring internet connections to remote rural areas where no or very limited internet coverage is currently available. Kacific1 was launched in December 2019.
Kacific1 follows a geostationary orbit—it maintains the same position relative to the earth, for easy alignment of ground antennas and satellite dishes. It hovers over the Asia Pacific region, and follows the same direction and matches the same speed as the earth’s rotation.
Kacific1 is a next generation, high throughput satellite—it operates in the Ka-band frequency spectrum that allows it to stream low-cost broadband via 56 powerful spot beams supporting 5G speeds. The satellite reaches over 25 countries in the Asia Pacific, from the mountains of Nepal to fringe islands in archipelagic Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean.
Ground satellite antennas or teleport gateways connect the Kacific1 to land-based internet connections. The gateways have been installed in three existing teleport sites in Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, which are tailored for broadcast, data, and communications services. Kacific offers wholesale satellite broadband internet services to telecommunication operators, internet service providers, and governments across the Asia Pacific region.
On 16 December 2019, Kacific1 was launched by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, USA and has been fully operational since March 2020. Built to last an estimated 15 years, Kacific1 is now on its geostationary orbit, and streaming high-speed broadband internet to communities in Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Pacific island nations of Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
ADB’s Jackie B. Surtani said, “Satellite internet services, like those that will be provided by Kacific1, are very effective in reaching the last mile of internet access, connecting remote areas that would otherwise remain isolated and lacking crucial services that can improve livelihoods and incomes.” Surtani is Infrastructure Finance Division Director for Southeast Asia, East Asia, and the Pacific at ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department.
In July 2020, Kacific received the IJGlobal 2019 Telecoms Deal of the Year award for the Asia Pacific, in recognition of the excellent commitment of investors and financial supporters, including ADB. IJGlobal (Infrastructure Journal and Project Finance Magazine) provides market leading intelligence for the energy and infrastructure finance industry.
To assist Asia Pacific governments cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, Kacific is offering over 1,000 small satellite dishes, at no cost, for healthcare departments to rapidly connect rural and remote medical clinics to high-speed internet.
With Kacific1 hovering over the Asia Pacific, inclusive development is surely to reach the most remote corners of the region.