Australia To Support Better Internet In Papua New Guinea

Australia To Support Better Internet In Papua New Guinea

The Australian Government will be stumping up funds to help improve the quality of internet service in Papua New Guinea.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill, have committed to laying a new undersea high-speed telecommunications cable from Australia to Port Moresby; which will be funded primarily by Australia.

Australia PNG undersea communications cable
Image: Google Earth

“As close neighbours and friends, Papua New Guinea and Australia are committed to supporting inclusive economic growth in the Pacific, including through better internet connectivity, which is a significant driver for productivity and development,” said a statement from the Prime Minister’s office.

Papua New Guinea has a population of more than 7 million and while mobile saturation has reached 50%, fixed line internet has only reached 10% of the population according to BuddeComm. Around 90% of Internet usage occurs over a single company’s mobile and broadband networks – Digicel.

Frequent outages appear to be the norm for internet users in the country and according to TradingEconomics, internet speed in Papua New Guinea decreased in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the fourth quarter of 2016.

The Australian-PNG submarine cable project would not only provide faster and more reliable internet, but cheaper access.

While Prime Minister Turnbull may not be having much joy at home on internet related issues, it appears he’ll be pretty popular in PNG.

“We thank Australia for partnering with Papua New Guinea on this project that is very important for ongoing economic development,” said Prime Minister O’Neill. The PNG PM stated the internet is also playing an important role in education and the delivery of healthcare services in the country.

As we mentioned back in July, the Australian Government has also been involved with a project that would see an undersea cable laid between Sydney and Honiara in the Solomon Islands. That initiative that hasn’t been without some serious snags and controversy that threatened the project; however, it seems set to still go ahead after Australia made an offer of assistance.

Prime Minister Turnbull’s office says the Australian Government wants to see both cables laid at the same time.

It’s expected the project will be well under way in 2018.

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