The U.S government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is supporting Pacific Island Countries to build an equipped workforce to improve peoples’ access to secure, fast, and affordable internet connectivity in the region.

USAID’s Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership (DCCP) – Pacific project is collaborating with partners such as the Asia Open Radio Access Network (RAN) Academy and USAID Indo-Pacific Opportunity Project to develop curriculum for regional universities to build workforce capacity and support assessment, testing and deployment of the Open RAN technology.

This technology will enable multiple telecommunications providers to be able to work together and collectively establish seamless connectivity covering areas where traditional communication infrastructure is limited. It will help expand safe and secure digital coverage across the Blue Pacific Continent.

With an equipped workforce, universities, governments, and the private sector will be able to expand connectivity to remote islands and low populated areas, creating more jobs for Pacific Islanders in the industry. This technology comes with lower deployment and operational costs thereby increasing access and connectivity for Pacific Islanders at competitive rates for newer services such as 5G.

USAID Pacific Islands Mission Director Zema Semunegus, during the announcement of this new partnership, said that better connections between different service providers will promote inclusivity and boost the digital and cybersecurity landscape in the Pacific. “Aligned with the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, this collaboration supports a more secure, dynamic, and resilient Pacific in terms of digital connectivity and cybersecurity,” she said.

USAID DCCP-Pacific Chief of Party Anju Mangal stated, “This partnership marks a significant stride towards transforming the digital landscape in the Pacific. By combining the strengths of USAID DCCP-Pacific and Asia Open RAN Academy, we are poised to enhance secure, open and interoperable Open RAN systems that support digital connectivity for telecommunication and mobile network providers in the region.’

Chairperson of Asia Open RAN Academy Achie Atienza said, “We believe that fostering an open, interoperable, and secure digital ecosystem is crucial for the sustained growth and resilience of the Pacific region. This collaboration reflects our commitment in the Pacific in advancing digital connectivity and cybersecurity in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.