MANILA, Philippines - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a $50 million agreement with Kacific Broadband Satellites International Limited (Kacific) to provide affordable satellite-based, high-speed broadband Internet connections to countries in Asia and the Pacific.
The agreement signed on Monday is aimed mainly at remote areas of small island nations in the Pacific. and larger island nations like Indonesia and the Philippines. It will be ADB's first satellite financing.
The Asia-Pacific Remote Broadband Internet Satellite Project will help make broadband internet connections more widely available to countries in the region, where more than 2 billion people do not have reliable Internet access due to inadequate infrastructure, geographical challenges, and the high cost of services.
"Better access to reliable, high-speed Internet can help improve education services, expand access to information, attract investments, reduce ruralurban development gaps, enhance trade and connectivity, and stimulate local economies," ADB Director General for Private Sector Operations Michael Barrow said Monday. "It will also help improve communication, especially during emergencies and times of disaster when terrestrial networks might be damaged."
"ADB's role was key in getting this transaction closed," Kacific Founder and CEO Christian Patouraux said Monday. "ADB's involvement has helped secure the necessary financing for this highly developmental project. The benefits of connectivity are life-changing, from increased tourism, access to information, financial services, to health care and education for many remote communities in the region."
The project will support the construction, launch, and operation of a shared geostationary earth orbit, high-throughput satellite. Kacific-1 is scheduled to be launched by SpaceX this month, and will be operational early next year.
The financing comprises loans from ADB and the Leading Asia's Private Infrastructure Fund (LEAP), which is administered by ADB. Established in March 2016 with support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, LEAP is one of ADB's cofinancing vehicles dedicated to private sector infrastructure in Asia and the Pacific.
ADB says it will be working with GuarantCo, a Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) company, to guarantee additional private cofinancing for the project. GuarantCo provides credit solutions for infrastructure development in lower income countries in Africa and Asia and is funded by the governments of the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia, and Sweden through the PIDG Trust and the Netherlands through FMO, the Dutch Development Bank, and the PIDG Trust. PIDG is a development and finance organization delivering pioneering infrastructure in the poorest and most fragile countries.
(Photo credit: Leon Seibert on Unsplash).