Palau will be removing Huawei technology from Palau National Telecommunications Corporations (PNCC)’s core mobile network and replacing it with other digital technology with support of US grant of $2.6 million dollars.

“They are going to take it out and throw it away,” President Surangel Whipps Jr. said of the Huawei technology used by PNCC.

President Whipps addressing the media said that this was an effort to put in technology that is trustworthy into PNCC, saying that with Huawei, there are people outside of the country listening in and controlling our telecom network.

Huawei is a Chinese telecom manufacturing giant and is one of the companies whose products are banned by US National Defense Authorization Act.  (see below DOI report)

Interior Announces $2.6 Million to Replace Palau Mobile Telecommunications Network and Bolster Health Monitoring

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs announced $2,684,500 in Technical Assistance Program grant funding to the Republic of Palau government. Funds will be used to replace the Palau National Communication Corporation’s core mobile network to meet internationally accepted digital trust standards and to help develop a public health monitoring and reporting system in the island nation.

“We are pleased to help Palau protect its population and move more quickly toward economic recovery following this pandemic by helping replace its telecommunications equipment to meet internationally accepted standards,” said Nikolao Pula, Acting Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs.

“It was an honor to meet President Whipps and his entire delegation in person and we at the Office of Insular Affairs are committed to strengthening the historic relationship that we have with the Palauan people,” said Betsy Hildebrandt, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary. “We commend the example Palau has set in achieving near 100 percent COVID-19 vaccinations and are pleased that the CARES Act funds provided through the Office of Insular Affairs will help Palau further to protect and monitor the health of its communities.”

Building on its success at vaccinating near 100 percent of its adult population and following CDC travel guidelines, Palau seeks to reduce its border restrictions as part of its economic recovery strategy to safely open to international travel. A crucial component of this strategy would be the implementation of effective surveillance and contact tracing system to respond quickly to contain and mitigate an outbreak. However, such public health monitoring and reporting systems must rely on a core mobile network that allows for customized software solutions and includes features that can support monitoring, contact tracing, and investigation of individuals exposed to or infected with COVID-19 or other infectious diseases. This funding will help Palau’s government-owned telecommunications provider to meet the internationally accepted digital trust standards for such a mobile network system.

Information about the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs and funding assistance for the insular areas can be found at www.doi.gov/oia.

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