Hayden Everett, Senior Country Specialist of the Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office within the Asian Development Bank (ADB) told the Solomon Star in Sydney this week that the project is to be implemented over five years period between 2013-2018.
He explained the project aims to improve links and telecommunication services in Solomon Islands especially with the internet and mobile services.
Mr Everett said funding support for the project had been approved 18 months ago and is just waiting to be utilised for the project.
The delay in getting the project rolling is with the government of Solomon Islands, which is yet to decide where the cable will be connected from.
“Once the government of Solomon Islands agrees on where the cables will link to, the project will kick off,” he said.
“At this stage it’s unclear where the cable for the sub-marine cable network will come from.”
He said there are two options the government of Solomon Islands is looking at to link up with the sub-marine cable.
“One is to link up with the Port Moresby network and the other is to link up with Sydney.
“Once the government of Solomon Islands decides which place to connect then work will kick off,” the ADB official said.
About the project
Under the proposed project, ADB will support the development and operation of a submarine fiber optic communication cable system (SCS), linking Solomon Islands to an existing international submarine cable network that runs between Guam and Sydney.
The SCS will comprise an international spur into Guadalcanal (landing in Honiara) and two domestic spurs linking Guadalcanal with Malaita (landing in Auki) and the Western Province (landing in Noro).
Jointly, these provinces are home to roughly 72% of the population.
The SCS will provide onward cost-effective broadband access to the rest of the world, which will boost opportunities to set the country on an inclusive growth path through the expansion of business opportunities in the ICT sector and the introduction of broadband solutions to service delivery constraints in key social sectors like health and education.
In addition to the expected positive socio-economic impact in Solomon Islands, improved broadband connectivity is also expected to increase the frequency and quality of communications among the countries in the region, facilitating a growth in trade related services such as tourism and back-office functions.
A recent World Bank study indicates that a 10% increase in broadband penetration results in a 1.38% increase in gross domestic product (GDP) growth in low and middle income countries.
By MOFFAT MAMU