China and Australia compete to connect the Internet to the Pacific islands

There was serious competition for a Chinese or Australian company to build more than a thousand kilometers of data cables in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Several small island states in the region, such as Nauru, Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Micronesia, will be connected to the Internet via the planned new cable. At the moment, the world can be reached from these islands via satellite.

To harness the carrots, the World Bank launched a tender last year that looked like a Chinese company, a subsidiary of Huawei, would win, because it would have done the job 20 percent cheaper than other applicants (the company has since been sold by Huawei). Nauru has backed away from investment, saying it fears growing Chinese influence. With this, the country of 12,000 people successfully digs the tender. The United States also encouraged countries in the region not to let in Chinese technology because it would be silenced. Even China rejected this assumption.



Nauru from above.


Photo: TORSTEN BLACKWOOD

According to Reuters, Nauru and the Solomon Islands are now in talks with Australia to do the investment by a company there, with the Asian Development Bank rather than the World Bank as the funder. (Reuters)

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