With deadlines for the second submarine cable project contractors and lenders due this month, President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. is urging the congress (Olbiil era Kelulau) to pass the Senate Joint Resolution 10-68, to authorizing sovereign guarantee of loans to finance the second fiber optic submarine cable to Palau
“The time is not for us to dictate, rather it is the construction timetable of the submarine cable that is passing by us that we have to meet,” reported President Remengesau on the urgency of passing the resolution.
In his letter to OEK leadership this November 9, he said that “this is not a solo project, and that puts us on a strict timeline. A project this large creates a lot of complexity and the contractor (NEC) needs firm commitments from all participants to finalize the cable design and begin procurement…and requesting down payment from BSCC, as from other project partners, in November 2020.”
Furthermore, the letter said that the lending institutions, Australia Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP), and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) require sovereign guarantees before proceeding with the lending.
When reached for update, Senator Rukebai Inabo who chairs the Public Utilities, Communications & Housing Development Committee (PUC &HD), whom the resolution was referred to, said that they will be conducting public hearings with BSCC, MPIIC and MOF next week Wednesday before finalizing the Committee Report for Committee’s review.
This would leave 5 days including weekends for the resolution to be passed and the guarantee to be issued within the month of November.
In an effort to secure resiliency and redundancy of Palau’s internet connectivity, Belau Submarine Cable Corporation, is seeking to connect to ECHO Submarine Cable connecting from Singapore to California, passing within 200km from Palau.
The Echo Project has three equal partners, Google, Facebook and TransPacific Network(TPN).
The current estimated cost of the project is around $25.4 million dollars. Sources of funding include loans from AIFFP, JBIC and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and grant from Palau’s CRA CIP funds with the approval of the United States.

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