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ADB backs bid to connect 2B people, including Filipinos, to internet in its first satellite project

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 04:08 PM December 02, 2019

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is helping finance a $50 million satellite launch which would bring the internet to at last 2 billion people in Asia-Pacific that are not on the map of telecommunications providers because of their remoteness or smallness.

In a statement, ADB said it had entered into a deal with Kacific Broadband Satellites International Ltd. to “provide affordable satellite-based, high-speed broadband internet connections” to the people of Asia-Pacific countries, including those in the Philippines.

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The ADB said that the Asia-Pacific Remote Broadband Internet Satellite Project will benefit over 2 billion people in the region who currently still lack reliable internet access because they live in remote, hard-to-reach areas and because of high costs and lack of infrastructure.

ADB said the project would finance the construction, launch and operation of a satellite to be flung to space by the company SpaceX this December. The satellite would be operational in 2020, ADB said.

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The project will also be financed by the ADB-administered Leading Asia’s Private Sector Infrastructure Fund (Leap) supported by the Japanese government’s aid arm Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

Michael Barrow, ADB director general for private sector operations, said the benefits of internet connection cannot be understated.

Through the internet, people can have access to improved education, information, investments. It could also reduce gaps in rural and urban development, enhance trade and connectivity and stimulate local economies, Barrow added.

“The ADB’s role was key in getting this transaction closed,” said Christian Patouraux, Kacific CEO and founder.

“The benefits of connectivity are life-changing,” he said.

Edited by TSB

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