Australia is financing, alongside Japan, the United States and Palau, the construction of an undersea fibre optic cable to the Republic of Palau. The cable is a dedicated branch cable off the proposed ECHO cable network, routed from Singapore to the USA, into the Republic of Palau.
In December 2017, Palau connected its first undersea cable. As a result:
- Available bandwidth in Palau increased by around seven times in just two years.
- Today, nearly every household in the nation has access to fixed line and mobile telephony.
- More than half of the population of Palau now has internet connectivity.
Currently Palau does not have any internet connections that provide redundancy for its first cable. This is a disincentive to private investors and an impediment to development. Connection to a second submarine cable will provide Palau with the redundancy it needs to realise the economic and development benefits of increased and strengthened digital connectivity.
The spur cable marks the first project to be delivered under the Trilateral Partnership for Infrastructure Investment in the Indo-Pacific between the United States, Australia and Japan.
This new project builds on Australia’s support to the Coral Sea Cable System, 4,700km of cable connecting Port Moresby, Honiara and Sydney, and Australia’s support to scope Timor-Leste’s first undersea fibre optic cable.
Approximately USD10million, including a loan of approximately USD9million. The total project is valued at approximately USD30million, with Japan, the United States and Palau making significant contributions.
The Belau Submarine Cable Corporation (BSCC) and the governments of Japan, the United States and Palau
The new spur cable will ensure reliable, secure digital connectivity in Palau. Given the geographic remoteness of Palau, improving connectivity and internet access will open up opportunities to boost tourism, business and investment, and to provide better government services, including health and education.
The project will assist Palau in its post-COVID recovery by creating local jobs and supporting the recovery of Palau’s tourism sector. Immediate opportunities for the private sector will be realised with the construction of local land-based infrastructure.