As part of a joint U.S.-Australian agreement scheduled for announcement on Wednesday, Alphabet’s Google will be responsible for operating submarine cables that provide internet connectivity to a minimum of eight remote Pacific Ocean nations, as confirmed by a U.S. official.
This agreement will broaden Google’s existing commercial initiative in the area to encompass the countries of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
Scheduled for unveiling during an official visit to the White House by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the previously undisclosed agreement entails contributions from both governments.
Canberra will provide $50 million, while Washington is adding an additional $15 million, as outlined by a senior administration official.
The small and occasionally isolated nations in the Pacific region have garnered substantial attention in recent years, with both China and the United States vying for their favor through infrastructure development and military collaborations.
President Joe Biden has been actively advocating for U.S. leadership in telecommunications services, recognizing the industry’s significance in terms of national security due to its control over global information transmission.
Google is presently involved in the development of a fiber-optic cable connecting Taiwan, which is claimed by China but self-ruled, with the Philippines and the United States.
In relation to the initiative in the Pacific islands, the United States will collaborate with these nations to enhance their cybersecurity resilience, assisting them in safeguarding essential data through global cloud networks, as confirmed by the official.