Seven pacific island nations have joined forces to deploy a satellite, to reduce their dependency on internet and IDD calls currently provided by other countries.
Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tuvalu, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia will jointly invest in the Pacific Islands-Republic Communications Network (Pacific ComNet) satellite.
Representatives from the nations have agreed that the main priority should be the provision of low-cost internet and international calls.
According to the nations, the goal is to provide residents of the nations unlimited domestic telephony usage for a flat annual fee of around $50 per line.
The satellite will be funded through donations from China and other countries. It is expected to launch within the next three years.
The craft will be provided by a joint venture between Russia-based TIME Technologia LLC and Pexin Investment HK. It will be launched from Russia using existing commercial launch vehicles.
Besides telecom services, the satellite will also be used to help the island nations detect and intercept illegal fishing within their territorial waters.