The Government of Samoa, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank, and the Government of Australia launched the Savai’i component of the new $57.4 million submarine cable system, which will deliver affordable high-speed Internet access to Samoa.

At a groundbreaking ceremony, officials turned the first sod to mark the start of construction of what a cable landing station for the new 1,300 kilometer system linking 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.

“High-speed Internet is essential to improving the lives of ordinary Samoan people," said Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i, Samoa’s Minister for Communications & Information Technology, at the groundbreaking ceremony. “The government of Samoa is working hard to position our nation as a submarine cable hub for the Pacific — we look forward to realizing this vision with the private sector, and the support of development partners.”

The project aims to deliver low-cost broadband services to Samoa and strengthen the regulatory and legal environment for information and communications technology. The submarine cable project is expected to deliver Samoa a wide range of improvements to public services, including an e-health patient information system to improve patient care within the Samoan health system, as well as significant benefits to education, business, tourism, agriculture, as well as disaster planning and response. The cable is expected to reach land in Apia and Savai’i in early 2018.

“We all know how vital Internet and telecommunications connectivity is to development – enhancing everything from business opportunities, delivery of healthcare and education, disaster resilience and response, and even agriculture,” said Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific. “We are proud to continue working with the government and people of Samoa, and development partners, to expedite the delivery of faster, cheaper connectivity.”

“The outer island of Savai’i will be connected to the Tui-Samoa cable, enabling it to receive high-speed Internet for the first time,” said Robert Jauncey, Regional Director of ADB’s South Pacific Subregional Office. “Faster, more affordable broadband should open up new domestic and regional economic opportunities and boost the delivery of public and social services.”

“This new cable will enable fast and efficient connectivity that aims to benefit all Samoans. It has potential to transform the way businesses operate and improve service delivery across all sectors,” said Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, Her Excellency Sue Langford.