A financing agreement and a project agreement were signed today to support the Government of Solomon Islands, finance the building of a submarine cable system that will deliver good quality high-speed internet services at affordable prices to the people of Solomon Islands.

Rick Houenipwela, Minister of Finance and Treasury, the Government of Solomon Islands, Andrea Iffland, Regional Director of ADB's Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office in Australia, and Austin Holmes, Chairman of the Board of the Solomons Oceanic Cable Company participated in the signing ceremony.

"The Solomon Islands Broadband for Development Project will deliver affordable, accessible, information and communication technology (ICT) which will improve the delivery of government, health, and education services and help businesses expand by creating jobs," said ADB's Andrea Iffland at the signing ceremony.

"It will also increase the frequency and quality of communications among countries in the region and create economic benefits by connecting Solomon Islands to larger markets."

The project will build a submarine cable system that will connect Solomon Islands to an existing international submarine cable network that runs between Guam and Sydney, Australia. The cable system is expected to be in place by December 2013.

Many areas of Solomon Islands remain geographically isolated with poor access to markets and services. The cable project will improve the country's connectivity to the rest of the world, offer new domestic and regional economic opportunities, reduce communication costs and assist with service delivery.

The project will be financed by: Asian Development Fund (ADF) loan and grant funds, commercial financing from ADB and equity brought in by the Solomons Oceanic Cable Company.

Supporting investment in ICT and inclusive growth are key focus areas of ADB's Pacific Approach which guides ADB's operational focus for ADB in the region.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members - 48 from the region. In 2011, ADB approvals including co-financing totaled $21.7 billion.