The Asian Development Bank (A.D.B.), the World Bank Group, and the government of Australia joined the Government of Samoa to celebrate the arrival of high-speed internet in the country at a ceremony at the T.A.T.T.E. Convention Centre on Friday night.
Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who gave a keynote speech, led the ribbon cutting and the switching on of the cable, delivering fast internet to the people of Samoa.
“Today is a historical occasion for Samoa and the beginning of a new era as the country, for the first time, connects to high-speed internet,” said Prime Minister Tuilaepa.
“Faster, reliable internet at more affordable prices is a real opportunity for Samoa.”
The project is supported by grants from A.D.B., the World Bank, and the governments of Australia and Samoa.
A.D.B. provided $25 million, the World Bank contributed $16 million, the Samoa Submarine Cable Company provided $8.18 million in equity, the Government Samoa covered taxes and duties worth $6.73 million, and the government of Australia provided $1.5 million.
“The new submarine cable system is a critical step in Samoa’s international connectivity and will help businesses to expand, create jobs, and facilitate access to remote health and education services,” said Bambang Susantono, A.D.B. Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development.
The new 1,300-kilometer system links the country’s largest islands, Upolu and Savai’i, to the Southern Cross Cable Network in Suva, Fiji, and to the Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands via a spur.
“The World Bank stands as a proud partner in working with the government of Samoa to continue bridging the digital divide—helping people across the country to seize new opportunities across commerce, education, health, and government service delivery,” said Michel Kerf, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea and Pacific.
The project will 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.
“The stability, security and prosperity of the Pacific is one of our highest foreign policy priorities, which is why Australia is working to bring high-speed telecommunications to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands,” said Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop.
“The Tui-Samoa submarine cable will allow Samoan businesses to access new opportunities in the world market and will see substantial economic and development benefits flow to the Samoan economy,”