13 Oct 2021

Geopolitical tensions hamper Pacific connectivity

From , 6:02 am on 13 October 2021

Geopolitical tensions are hampering efforts to deliver better internet access to remote Pacific Island countries.

Despite an increase in the numer of high-speed undersea internet cables criss-crossing the region in recent years some countries like Nauru, Tuvalu and Tokelau have yet to be connected and many others are heavily reliant on a single cable connection leaving them vulnerable to internet blackouts.

In the early 2000's the main obstacle to laying and accessing these internet highways was the infrastructure cost.

But with rising tensions between the US and China, including cyber-security concerns, now spilling over into the Pacific things have been a bit more complicated in recent years.

With me to speak about some of the latest developments is Dr Amanda Watson, a research fellow in the Department of Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University.

Kia ora and welcome on Pacific Waves, so tell us what has been happening with undersea cables up in Micronesia?

IT&E diver checks fibre optic cable.

An IT&E diver checks the undersea fibre optic cable in the Northern Marianas. Photo: IT&E