Belau Submarine Cable Corporation’s (BSCC) attempt to obtain financing to connect to a second fiber optic cable link to U.S. west coast has been hampered by the world COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year, BSCC reported that it was seeking to connect to Project Echo, a submarine cable linking Jakarta, Indonesia to Eureka, California. The Echo Project has three equal partners, Google, Facebook and TransPacific Network(TPN) and TPN has offered to connect a spur to Palau. The cable will pass Palau at about 200 km range.
The new second submarine cable is to provide resiliency, security and greater capacity for Palau internet needs and BSCC had identified 2 potential lenders and was working to obtain approval from OEK for the loan.
With the current crisis facing the world and Palau, President Remengesau reported that the plan has been downsized temporarily due the need to address economic challenges Palau is facing with COVID-19.
According to Remengesau, BSCC will only put the T-connection on the TPN network to allow for future connection.
The second cable is very important according Remengesau. He said that the current situation emphasizes its importance as our only connection to the outside world, especially in terms of telemedicine application and the need for it.
The second cable is needed for resiliency and backup for the current cable. Source of funding for the new cable was to come from the payment of over $2 million for legacy satellites currently serving as backup for local telecom providers.