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ADB's First Satellite Financing to Expand Internet Access in Asia and Pacific

ADB’s First Satellite Financing to Expand Internet Access in Asia and Pacific

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $50 million agreement
with Kacific Broadband Satellites International Limited (Kacific) to provide
affordable satellite-based, high-speed broadband internet connections to
countries in Asia and the Pacific, especially in remote areas of small island
nations in the Pacific and larger island nations like Indonesia and the
Philippines. This is ADB’s first satellite financing.

The AsiaPacific Remote Broadband Internet Satellite Project will help
make broadband internet connections more widely available to countries in the
region, where more than 2 billion people do not have reliable internet access
due to inadequate infrastructure, geographical challenges, and the high cost of
services.

“Better access to reliable, high-speed internet can help improve
education services, expand access to information, attract investments, reduce
rural–urban development gaps, enhance trade and connectivity, and stimulate
local economies,” said ADB Director General for Private Sector Operations Mr.
Michael Barrow. “It will also help improve communication, especially during
emergencies and times of disaster when terrestrial networks might be damaged.”

“ADB’s role was key in getting this transaction closed,” said Kacific
Founder and CEO Mr. Christian Patouraux. “ADB’s involvement has helped secure
the necessary financing for this highly developmental project. The benefits of
connectivity are life-changing—from increased tourism, access to information,
financial services, to health care and education for many remote communities in
the region.”

The project will support the construction, launch, and operation of a
d geostationary earth orbit, high-throughput satellite. Kacific-1 is
scheduled to be launched by SpaceX in December 2019 and will be operational in
early 2020.

The financing comprises loans from ADB and the Leading Asia’s Private
Infrastructure Fund (LEAP), which is administered by ADB. Established in March
2016 with support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, LEAP is one
of ADB’s cofinancing vehicles dedicated to private sector infrastructure in Asia
and the Pacific.

ADB will be working with GuarantCo, a Private Infrastructure Development
Group (PIDG) company, to guarantee additional private cofinancing for the
project. GuarantCo provides credit solutions for infrastructure development in
lower income countries in Africa and Asia and is funded by the governments of
the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia, and Sweden through the PIDG Trust
and the Netherlands through FMO, the Dutch Development Bank, and the PIDG
Trust. PIDG is a development and finance organization delivering
pioneering infrastructure in the poorest and most fragile countries.