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Communications revolution for isolated Pacific nation

27 октября 2008

The Marshall Islands is to spend millions of dollars on a fiber optic cable link that will revolutionize communications in the isolated western Pacific nation, the government said Friday.

The $100 million cable is a joint project with the U.S. army and will link the U.S. territory of Guam to the Marshall Islands atoll of Kwajalein, where the U.S. Army operates a major missile testing facility.

Marshall Islands will need to spend nearly $18 million on its share of the cable and must make a down payment of $2 million by Nov. 21.

After several years of debating the project,
Marshall Islands officials said Friday they were ready to back the project.

"Cabinet has already endorsed it, we really want it to happen," transportation and communications minister Dennis Momotaro said Friday.

Business leaders and health officials have been pushing the government in the
Marshall Islands to fund the costly communications upgrade for some time.

"It is time that this country wakes up to the 21st century and takes hold of the opportunity that today's technology can offer us," Carlos Dominick, chief operations officer at a local construction company in Majuro, said.

Hospital surgeon Kamal Gunawardane said installing the fiber optic cable would result in major improvements in healthcare for the country's 55,000 people.

He said a fast broadband connection would allow
Marshalls doctors to contact medical experts in other countries almost instantly, even while surgery is taking place.

The army is installing the cable to allow missile tests to be controlled from Space and Missile Defense Command headquarters in
Alabama, Lt. Gen. Kevin Campbell of the U.S. army said recently.

This would save the cost of sending large numbers of personnel to
Kwajalein to conduct tests, he said.

The submarine cable will also link islands in the
Federated States of Micronesia.

Источник: Total Telecom

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