The Asian Development Bank has signed a $50 million loan agreement to spur internet use in the Asia-Pacific region, with half the financing coming from a fund supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
The project will extend low-cost, high-speed internet availability through a communications satellite to more than 2 billion people living in island nations in the region, where internet use lags because of inadequate infrastructure or high cost, according to JICA.
The countries include Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The project will also contribute to strengthening educational services, expanding information access, increasing investment appeal and stimulating regional economies, while ensuring network continuity in disasters or emergencies, JICA said.
Under the deal signed last month, Kacific Broadband Satellites International Ltd. will handle the construction, launch and operation of a high-throughput satellite named Kacific-1, scheduled to start operation early this year.
The funding will be split between the ADB and Leading Asia’s Private Infrastructure Fund, set up as part of the follow-up measures for the Partnership for Quality Infrastructure initiative the Japanese government announced in November 2015.
The fund was established in March 2016 when JICA approved a $1.5 billion contribution through private-sector investment financing.
Since its inception, the fund has provided financing worth $500 million for a range of high-quality infrastructure projects, such as health initiatives in India and Indonesia and renewable energy schemes in Mongolia and Thailand.