Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, says it is providing funding support to the current underwater fiber communication cable project by the Asian Development Bank.

Hon. Lilo says the project is very vital for the country's economy, thus it will be commiting its funds from its supplementary budget recently passed by National Parliament.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a $7.5 million grant and $10.5 million loan for the $60 million Solomon Islands Broadband for Development Project which will build a submarine cable system that will deliver good quality high-speed internet services at affordable prices to the people of Solomon Islands.

The Government will onlend this entire amount to the Solomon Oceanic Cable Company, which is also seeking private sector loans including from ADB's private sector wing.

The submarine cable system 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.

"The development of the new submarine cable system is a critical step in Solomon Islands international connectivity and will effectively open up efficient and reliable telecommunications access to the country's population," said ADB Pacific Department Director General Xianbin Yao.

The underwater fiber optic cable will provide Solomon Islands population of 550,000 cheaper, accessible, reliable information and communication technology (ICT) services.

Lack of access to markets and services, combined with high transport and communication costs, leaves much of the geographically isolated portion of Solomon Islands economically isolated from national and regional markets. Improved connectivity with better quality and expected reduction in communication costs via the Solomon Islands Broadband for Development Project will offer new economic opportunities domestically and regionally, as well as new avenues for the delivery of key public and social services.

Supporting inclusive growth and investment in ICT are key focus areas of ADB's Pacific Approach which guides ADB's operational focus for ADB in the region. ADB's investment in the project is complemented by World Bank technical assistance to support the Telecommunications Commission of Solomon Islands.