BANGKOK � The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, announced that it plans to work with Trans Pacific Networks (TPN) to support the world’s longest subsea telecommunications cable, which will span the Indo-Pacific region. The announcement was made at the 2019 Indo-Pacific Business Forum.
The internet provides unmatched social and economic benefits, from facilitating trade, to improving education, and advancing financial inclusion, said OPIC’s David Bohigian. Yet in many regions of the world where it is needed most, persistent challenges including high costs and outdated technology restrict widespread adoption of digital connectivity. In order to fully realize the positive power of the internet, efficient, affordable, and well-run physical infrastructure is essential.
The TPN subsea cable will be a critical element of the Indo-Pacific’s digital infrastructure, ultimately strengthening networks and increasing capacity while reducing internet costs in the region.
On completion, the TPN cable will be the first subsea route to directly connect Singapore, Indonesia, and the U.S., and will have the capability to serve several markets in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The project will be developed on terms that prioritize quality, high social and environmental standards, and financial sustainability.
By improving the availability, quality, and cost effectiveness of internet and communications technology, the cable will serve as a powerful driver of economic development and quality of life improvement in the Indo-Pacific. It will advance U.S. efforts to expand digital connectivity through responsible and transparent infrastructure development in the region. At the 2018 Indo-Pacific Business Forum, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership�a whole-of-government initiative to promote an open, reliable, and secure internet.
The project also advances cooperative efforts between OPIC, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Export Finance Australia (EFA), and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to promote principles-based infrastructure development through their Trilateral Infrastructure Partnership and newly announced Blue Dot Network initiative.
The announcement comes as OPIC prepares to transform into a new, modernized agency called the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). Equipped with a more than doubled investment cap of $60 billion and new financial tools, DFC will have more resources to invest in priority regions such as the Indo-Pacific and expanded flexibility to collaborate with key partners on shared goals including quality infrastructure development.