Palau National Communications Corporation has been awarded a $34.9 million high-speed internet grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve high-speed internet access by connecting fiber to homes and establishments across Palau.
“This internet infrastructure grant is going to make a large difference as Palau continues to move into the digital era. This will help improve connectivity for our children in schools, and even for our teachers who are participating in online educational courses. It can also expand health programs, support safety, and push our economy forward as we seek to diversify,” President Surangel S. Whipps, Jr. stated. “Kudos and mesulang to the Palau National Communications Corporation team members who put in the hours and effort needed to submit the grant application.
The grant is part of a $759 million USDA ReConnect Loan and Grant Program program that provides loans and grants for the costs of “construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.”
According to a press release from the Office of the President, this USDA development grant will connect over 9,000 homes, businesses, education, and government facilities through fiber-to-premises infrastructure.
“The 5-year project will bring fiber infrastructure to, among other facilities, public and private schools, Palau Community College and Land Grant research facility, the Belau National Hospital, community health clinics, police facilities, and the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO).”
“I credit the great team here at PNCC that put together the grant proposal. We are very happy because the timing is very good,” stated PNCC Chairman Bradley Kumangai on the timing of the grant and the hiring of PNCC’s new CEO Simon Fraser, who came on board in September.
With another important project in the pipeline, the PNCC’s core network upgrade, the new CEO will lead PNCC’s team to implement both major improvement projects.
“It’s been our mission for the past 40 years to continually upgrade and expand telecommunications services for Palau,” said PNCC Board Chairman Bradley Kumangai. “With this ReConnect grant funding, PNCC is now able to take the next step to bring affordable, high-speed broadband fiber connections to every premise from Kayangel to Angaur.”