APIA, SAMOA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $25 million grant for a submarine cable project which will support the development of a fiber-optic cable system linking Samoa to Fiji’s international submarine cable network, giving Samoa fast and affordable Internet access. Cofinance is being provided by the World Bank and the Government of Australia.
“The development of the new submarine cable system is a critical step in Samoa’s international connectivity and will effectively open up efficient and affordable telecommunications access to the country’s population,” said Maria Melei, project team leader in ADB’s Pacific Department.
ADB’s grant sourced from ADB’s concessional Asian Development Fund will be complemented by cofinance of $16 million from the World Bank and $1.5 million from Australia. The Samoa Submarine Cable Company will provide $8.18 million in equity and the Government Samoa will cover taxes and duties of $6.73 million. The total project cost is estimated at $57.4 million.
Currently Samoa is connected to the American Samoa-Hawaii cable system via the Samoa-American Samoa cable, which is operating at near capacity. The project will enable broader Internet access to meet Samoa’s growing demand. The new system will link both Upolu and Savaii to Suva in Fiji.
The project aims to enhance low-cost broadband services to Samoa, strengthen the regulatory and legal environment for information and communication technology (ICT), and facilitate e-health investment in Samoa. Part of the project will involve implementing an e-health patient information system to improve patient care.
The outer island of Savaii will be connected to the existing cable for the first time enabling it to receive high-speed internet. It is expected the project will open up new economic opportunities, both domestically and regionally, and boost the delivery of public and social services.
Supporting inclusive growth and investment in ICT are key focus areas of ADB’s Pacific Approach which guides ADB’s operational focus in the region.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including co-financing of $9.2 billion.