Access to broadband internet is vital to accelerate development in remote communities and island states of Asia and the Pacific. ADB partners with Kacific Broadband Satellites International Ltd. (Kacific) to construct, launch, and operate Kacific 1, a geostationary satellite, that can provide low cost, high-speed, and easily accessible broadband internet. Satellite technology is an excellent way of providing connectivity for island nations like Papua New Guinea with rugged terrain and dispersed populations. Connectivity through Kacific 1 is helping Papua New Guinea to improve judicial services using electronic-based systems. Other government offices in the country are expected to adopt similar innovative approaches and modern technologies. 

Internet connectivity challenges are not unique to Papua New Guinea. ADB and Kacific's satellite project aims to improve internet connectivity across the region, especially in remote areas of small island nations in the Pacific and larger ones like Indonesia and the Philippines.

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Learn more about the partnership between Kacific and ADB. Watch an interview with Kacific CEO Christian Patouraux in Journey to Space: ADB's First Satellite Financing with Kacific 1

Transcript

Port Moresby—Papua New Guinea’s population of about nine million is dispersed across its 600 islands and rugged terrain. This makes internet connectivity a major challenge. Infrastructure takes time to build and ensuring it reaches communities is expensive. Access to reliable and affordable internet service is critical to drive economic growth and improve public services especially in Papua New Guinea’s rural and remote communities. The country’s Judiciary is at the forefront of revolutionizing the public sector using connectivity.

"We want to ensure that justice is accessible to our people. We want connectivity to our people, both in the bigger major urban areas and into the remote parts of Papua New Guinea. This is going to bring relief to our judges, first of all, the workforce in the court facilities, first of all. It will also bring relief to the users, the court users. Because of connectivity, people will be able to file their cases wherever they are, file their complaints or writs of summons or court proceedings. They can start them from wherever they are. We’re working towards that right now. We’ve got the satellite in place already, that’s the Kacific satellite. The only thing remaining now is for the satellite dishes to be hooked up.", shares Sir Gibbs Salika, Chief Justice of Papua New Guinea. 

Investing in innovative technologies is key to improving internet connectivity. ADB, together with development partners, teamed up with Kacific Broadband Satellites International Limited and provided $50 million for the Kacific 1 satellite. Launched in December 2019, Kacific 1 satellite is expanding high-speed and stable broadband internet access across Asia and the Pacific, including Papua New Guinea.

"In PNG, we have partnered with the government to deliver internet and connectivity throughout a number of justice courts. It’s extremely difficult to travel to the country. And the internet gives instant connectivity and exchange between people throughout the country. So that’s what Kacific has given them", explains Kacific CEO Christian Patouraux.

Using Kacific 1 broadband services, the Judiciary will be able to seamlessly implement its electronic-based systems and connect over 25 court offices in the next five years.

"We’re preparing for a 21st-century court facility and court services. The electronic case management system and the other electronic systems we’re rolling out, whether it be in HR or Finance, I think, has the ability to support the Judiciary in the work that they’re doing. Other electronic-based systems that we're trying to put in place are digital bail, digital identity and to be able to run it across PNG. For the Judiciary, I think going out there and taking that bold step, so to speak, as a leader in terms of providing judiciary services on electronic-based platforms sets the foundation or the ball rolling for the sector. I think for the PNG Center for Judicial Excellence, I think, that's been a real positive for them to implement a learning management system that’s electronic based and using the satellite connectivity to be able for them to roll out webinars or different learning modules for Papua New Guinea and throughout the region as well", shares Jack Kariko, Secretary, National Judicial Staff Services, Papua New Guinea.

The enhanced internet connectivity in Papua New Guinea is also anticipated to help provide better education and health services, deliver improved access to information, enable businesses to thrive, and expand Papua New Guinea’s reach to global markets.

Chief Justice Salika believes that "The introduction of the e-government into the public service is going to have a massive impact on our country. People may have had different views of Papua New Guineans as Stone Age. Well, we are also an evolving nation. We are also an up and coming nation. Connectivity is going to bring PNG to the rest of the world."

Internet connectivity challenges are not unique to Papua New Guinea. Over two billion people across Asia and the Pacific lack access to reliable and affordable internet, especially in remote areas of small island nations in the Pacific and larger island nations like Indonesia and the Philippines. Satellite technology is an excellent option to provide crucial services to communities that remain isolated. 

"The interesting thing is that all these villages in remote areas have devices. They are equipped for the internet. What they’re waiting for is cheap enough, fast enough, and accessible enough internet. And that is what Kacific is giving them thanks to this Ka-band system. The Ka-band system, the way it delivers the – is that it packs a lot more punch in the same satellite. The same cost of the satellite itself delivers 10 to 20x more bandwidth than a classic satellite", discusses Patouraux.

ADB works closely with the private sector to explore advanced technologies, such as Kacific 1, to ensure that development reaches even the most remote corners of the region.

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