By The Jet
Tuesday 2nd of September 2014 – Apia, Samoa: The Private Sector Forum of the UN SIDS conference closed on Sunday with Digicel Chairman, Denis O’Brien, calling for an undersea cable from Papua New Guinea through the Pacific and back into Sydney to increase connectivity by providing access to broadband services for all – as well as asking for a new economic plan for heavily indebted Caribbean states.
Chairman of Digicel Group, Denis O’Brien, used the forum to impress the importance of connectivity for UN SIDS to unlock economic growth. “There won’t be a real change in economic growth in most of the Pacific Islands until a submarine cable is built to these remote countries. Broadband is the umbilical cord for economic development. The Private Sector must partner with the World Bank, Asia Development Bank, IFC, The European Union and Pacific Governments to come together to build a submarine cable in order to close the digital divide that exists where Pacific Island nations do not have access to broadband. This cable would lead to the ‘death of distance’ and bring this last geographic frontier into the global information age,” he said.
Digicel is proposing a new submarine cable that would connect Papua New Guinea, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Cook Islands back into Sydney. This new submarine cable would deliver unlimited connectivity to consumer and business customers and have a major impact in developing the economies of these Island States. Mr. O’Brien’s vision to increase connectivity was supported in principle by World Bank Vice Presidentand Special Envoy for Climate Change, Rachel Kyte, who indicated that the World Bank would consider following if Digicel were to lead on the project.