03 January 2013

Response to inaccurate news article released by The Register

Today The Register has published an article about our campaign based on insufficient research and inaccurate information, to which we would like to reply as follows:

  1. Plans to land the South Atlantic Express cable on St Helena have not been rejected by any involved party. In fact recent efforts indicate a strong commitment by the St Helena Government to the project.
  2. The DfID has since been stating that it will consider funding the cable landing if a full economic assessment indicates sufficient economic and social benefits for the island and costs for the project appear appropriate. This assessment has not been completed yet and so there is no final decision.
  3. Aids to overseas territories do not fall into the FCO's responsibility but into the DfID's.
  4. The fact that HMG did not sign the treaty passed during the recent ITU World Conference in Dubai does not impact plans to connect St Helena.
  5. Costs for the cable landing are estimated to amount to $10-15m, not £10m. Also these costs do not need to be fully funded by HMG as the St Helena Government and Cable & Wireless South Atlantic will very likely contribute funds.
  6. While the article focusses on the potential costs for British taxpayers it totally neglects the rationale behind our proposal which in fact is the potential relief the cable could bring to British taxpayers as it will enable significant socio-economic development and so help render St Helena self-sufficient.
We regret that The Register has not taken our offer to discuss the campaign in detail which would have probably avoided these confusions.

High-speed broadband would be huge for education. Not only could we make better use of online materials, but with affordable broadband teachers could develop their practice from home.
I'm an IT engineer and I would love to return to my island to start an IT business, but because of the slow, expensive and unreliable internet connection this is simply impossible.
I had to leave St Helena to study. Being 5000 miles away from my family and friends is hard. Not being able to skype with them due to the slow and expensive internet on St Helena is even harder.
Socioeconomic status is now heavily reliant on broadband penetration. With the ever-growing importance of the internet, St Helena with its limited access is in danger of being left behind.