A US$2.6 million grant from the Australian and Swedish governments announced on Thursday aims to extend telecommunications
access to Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meancheay, Preah Vihear and Pursat provinces by developing infrastructure in the desolate northern region to entice service providers. Bun Veasna, infrastructure operations officer for the World Bank, which will oversee spending, said the money would pay for the construction of 33 state-owned transceiver stations - use of which will be bid on by private companies, who would otherwise find the area commercially unviable. Despite a proliferation of telecommunications companies, rural access remains poor in Cambodia given the limited market draw. The project will help bridge the "digital divide" between rural and urban areas, Chin Bunsean, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, which will implement the plan, said in a written statement.