Palau to Get Boost in Digital Connectivity

Japan, Australia, and the U.S. offer joint financing . . .

The Pacific island country of Palau is about to score an undersea fibre-optic cable thanks to financing from Japan, the U.S., and Australia. A joint video announcement was aired today at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Vietnam. The project follows a Memorandum of Understanding on Trilateral Partnership for Infrastructure Investment in the Indo-Pacific that the three parties signed before the 2018 APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea. Construction on the C$39.9-million, 170-km cable will begin next year.

Why invest in an undersea cable?

Undersea cables form the backbone of international communication and the global economy. They transmit almost all international internet data, trillions of dollars a day in financial transactions, and are relied on by companies, manufacturers, and governments for transmitting sensitive data. The Palau cable, which will directly link the country to a new cable that, in turn, directly connects Singapore to the U.S. mainland, is expected to help boost Palau’s digital connectivity and ability to attract investment.

More South Pacific cables on the way . . .

There are currently few undersea cables in the South Pacific, but that will change in the coming years. Australia is helping finance cable projects for Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste. The laying of cables will continue to be a component in the China-U.S. competition for influence in the Pacific and dominance in technology infrastructure.