Landing of the Coral Sea telecommunications cable in Sydney on Wednesday this week has marked an important milestone in the continued strengthening of ties between Australia and its Pacific neighbours.

The 4,700 km undersea cable will deliver faster, more affordable and reliable communications to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.

A statement from the Australian High Commission in Honiara said currently only around 11 percent of the population of these countries have access to the Internet.

It said the project will bring significant economic and development benefits by opening new opportunities across a range of sectors.

This includes providing a stronger enabling environment for tech enterprises and entrepreneurs, greater integration into the global marketplace, more opportunity for distance education learning and telemedicine training, increased participation of women in IT, and the establishment of e-platforms to enable decentralised government service delivery in provincial locations.

It adds, Australia is also supporting improvements to Internet regulation and cyber security in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, to ensure the benefits of the cable are fully realised.

The World Bank forecasts that improved Internet access and connectivity could bring more than 5 billion US dollars to the Pacific economy and create close to 300-thousand new jobs by 2040.

The project is majority funded by Australia, with Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands jointly contributing one-third of the cost.

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