Samoa is one step closer to getting faster, cheaper internet with the start on the Savaii component of the country's new submarine cable.
Construction of the 1,300 kilometre system will cost $US57.4million and will connect Upolu and Savai'i, to the Southern Cross Cable Network in Suva, Fiji.
The project was launched by the Samoa government with support from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Australian Government.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony Samoa's communications minister Afamasaga Rico Tupa'i said high speed internet was essential for improving the lives of ordinary Samoan people.
The World Bank's vice president for East Asia and the Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa said internet and telecommunications connectivity was crucial for development - enhancing everything from business opportunities, delivery of healthcare and education, disaster resilience and response, and even agriculture.
Regional Director of ADB's South Pacific Subregional Office, Robert Jauncey, said Faster, more affordable broadband should open up new domestic and regional economic opportunities and boost the delivery of public and social services.
Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, Sue Langford said the new cable has the potential to transform the way businesses in Samoa operate and improve service delivery across all sectors.
The cable is expected to reach land in Apia and Savai'i in early 2018.
It will also connect the French Territory of Wallis and Futuna via a spur.