Tonga to get high speed broadband grant


<p style="text-align: justify;">Next week, two large global funding agencies are expected to nod their assent to a $US34 million grant to bring high speed broadband to Tonga’s 100,000 people via an under sea optic fibre cable. <!--more--></p>

[caption id="attachment_1335" align="alignright" width="250" caption="Caption: Map of Southern Cross Cable. Photo / Pacific Fibre."]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-1335" title="Pacific Fibre Map1" src="" alt="" width="250" height="160" /></a>[/caption]
<p style="text-align: justify;">The Asian development Bank and World Bank are expected to start the process of putting their final seal of approval on the grant beginning next week.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The grant will help connect Tonga through a spur with the Southern Cross Cable that runs between Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The Pacific region has suddenly come alive after the entry of Pacific Fibre, an international consortium that is connecting Australia, New Zealand and the US with a parallel under sea connection in direct competition to the well-entrenched Southern Cross Cable.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">In the past few months, the new entrant has made rapid progress, signing key deals with cornerstone investors and large bulk bandwidth buying entities in Australia and New Zealand.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The competition may well result in increasingly attractive options for Pacific Islands that fall in the path of the two cables. For all it would take them is to tap into the cables, with costs depending primarily on the distance. And if they can quickly sew up deals with international funding agencies, as Tonga is about to do, they could come up trumps.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Of the $US34 million cost of the broadband cable for Tonga, the World Bank is expected to chip in with $US17.2 million and ADB $US9.7 million, pending consideration by their Boards of Directors. Tonga is expected to cough up the rest. The funds from both financial institutions will be on 100% grant terms.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">In another development, Palau and Yap signed a memorandum of understanding for an underwater fibre optic cable service with the FSM telecommunications Corporation in Koror this week.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Photo / Pacific Fibre</p>

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