Australia, Japan and the United States will jointly fund the construction of a new submarine internet cable system connecting three Pacific nations.
The cable is intended to be used for internet connectivity by the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati, and Nauru, according to a joint statement published by the US Department of State.
It will interconnect with HANTRU-1, a cable system that runs between FSM and Guam and was funded by the US Army.
The project was first revealed by Reuters back in September and replaces a previous cable project that would have been built by Chinese companies and was backed by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
“This six-country collaboration highlights our commitment to work together on critical telecommunications infrastructure and contribute to reliable and secure internet for the region,” the countries jointly said.
Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne was represented in the joint text.
“We will continue to coordinate closely with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to ensure this project complements investments by these institutions to enhance digital connectivity in FSM, Kiribati, and Nauru.
“This is more than an infrastructure investment. It represents an enduring partnership to deliver practical and meaningful solutions at a time of unprecedented economic and strategic challenges in our region.”
Australia has previously agreed to fund the construction of subsea cables in other parts of the Pacific islands in place of previously China-backed proposals on regional internet security grounds.