There is no internet service in Palau for the next five days starting today, July 18, to July 22, 2023.  Email, Facebook and other social media applications, such as YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and all internet-based applications, will not be accessible for five days.

If you are expecting a reply to an email from Palau during this time, note that this will not be possible.  If you are in the United States or any location overseas and trying to call loved ones in Palau, do not be alarmed if your call is not received or responded to, the internet in Palau is inaccessible during this time.

Palau connects to the rest of the world via submarine cable. “Since Belau Submarine Cable Corporation (BSCC)’s Palau Cable Network No 1 connects to SEA–US for onward transport to Guam, BSCC will be unable to provide service for the duration of the repair. BSCC will be unable to provide any international connectivity for Palau,” announced the joint press release from BSCC and PNCC yesterday.

The SEA–US cable network is under emergency repair as several cables at the SEA-US cable landing at PITI, Guam, were extensively damaged.  The cause of the damage is not yet confirmed, but it is suspected that it may have been caused by Supertyphoon Mawar, which hit Guam in May of this year.

The joint press release from Belau Submarine Cable Corporation (BSCC) and Palau National Communications Corporation (PNCC)states, “For safety reasons, repairs can only be undertaken when the cable is not powered, “ explaining the reason for the outage.

Meanwhile, Palau National Communications Corporation (PNCC), through satellite connection, will provide only limited capacity compared to normal cable service.

“Only limited internet services will be provided through PNCC’s satellite backup services for essential government services such as police, fire and rescue, hospital, Judiciary and limited access for local banks to enable internet access for their ATM as well as card swipe machines at some locations,” announced the joint press release.

“Essential services will have access to basic internet connectivity over PNCC’s backup satellite to ensure they can continue to function.”

It added, “During the submarine fiber outage, all PNCC customers will be able to access local and international Voice and SMS on both mobile and fixed lines. Customers will not have access to either Mobile Data or fixed line internet services.”

Both entities apologized for the inconvenience caused by the outage saying, “We understand the inconveniences this situation may bring and we appreciate your understanding and patience. PNCC is working closely with BSCC, monitoring the repair process, and we will be providing updates via mass SMS text messages as more information becomes available.”

Palau’s dependency on fast internet service has taken quantum leaps since the launch of fast internet service via submarine fiber optic cable in 2018.  Since then, the internet has been consistent and rarely interrupted for more than a few hours.  Schools, the national hospital, medical clinics, businesses, families, and individuals, including children, are now accustomed to the fast internet service, the products, the services, and the convenience it offers. It will be an interesting five days for many without the Internet.

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