Huawei wins US$66m contract for expanding Solomons telecom network

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Huawei to build 161 telecommunication towers
The Solomon Islands government says the US$66 million loan will allow up to 161 Huawei telecommunication towers to be built. Image: Boscorelli/RNZ

RNZ Pacific

The Solomon Islands government has secured a US$66 million (NZ$106 million) loan from China for tech giant Huawei to expand the country’s telecommunications network.

The Solomon Islands National Broadband Infrastructure project is being described as a “historical financial partnership”.

It aims to see up to 161 telecommunication towers constructed around the country over the next three years.

It is the first major loan the country has received from Beijing since the signing of its security pact with China earlier this year.

The stadium infrastructure for the 2023 Pacific Games being constructed by China in the capital Honiara is purportedly all being paid for by grants from Beijing, a gift to the country after Taiwan cut diplomatic ties with Honiara in 2019.

The work is set to be funded through a 20-year concessional loan from the state-linked Bank of China.

The government hoped local telecom company contracts could be finalised by the end of this year so the project could get underway.

A hoped-for completion ahead of the Pacific Games in November 2023 would allow people who were unable to travel to Honiara to enjoy the games’ coverage via the internet, the government said.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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