Speed Matters

The case for an international cable internet connection for Timor-Leste


The Challengers:

Timor is one of the few countries in the world without a fibre optic cable connection.

Only 12% of mobile subscriptions in Timor-Leste include 3G internet access. On the bright side,
3G mobile coverage reaches almost 97% of the population. This means there is huge demand potential as users in Timor start to use internet services through their mobile subscriptions.

Only 25% of Timorese use the internet, compared to a global average of 46% and Asia/Pacific average of 41.5%.

The Impact:

Economic impacts include Tourism providers have the opportunity to promote their services directly with clients in a range of real-time, dynamic means. Farmers can access information, share resources, understand markets and develop skills through greater connection.

Social impacts affect Healthcare, the Government & Education.

International evidence suggests that the arrival of submarine cable internet leads to growth in economic activity. Businesses will benefit and there will be significant employment creation.

Overcoming Obstacles:

Transparency – Concerns about fairness, protection and operations can be alleviated if the government follows an open and transparent tender process. Transparency includes providing information to civil society, as well as giving opportunity for input from civil society and other stakeholders.

Shared Ownership – A public-private-partnership model provides a potentially helpful ownership structure for the process of building and managing a major piece of public infrastructure. The state (i.e. the citizens) benefits from profit, and also retains direct involvement in the project, allowing them to focus on protecting the public interest.

Competition – Market competition provides an effective way to protect against the power of owners/businesses.

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