Palau’s second submarine cable faces delay 

Photo: Belau Submarine Cable Corporation

The activation of Palau’s second submarine cable connection, linking the island nation to the Echo Submarine Cable Project between Singapore and the United States, has been delayed. 

The cable, originally slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2023, was pushed back to the first quarter of 2024. Now, officials say it won’t be ready for service until sometime in 2025. 

“The delay is not on our end,” said Rhinehart Silas, CEO of Belau Submarine Cable Corporation (BSCC). “It’s an issue with the cable owners.” 

BSCC owns the spur cable connecting Palau’s Ngardmau landing station to the branching unit of the Echo Submarine Cable.  

The second cable is designed to provide redundancy and improve internet resiliency for Palau. It’s also expected to attract new businesses to the island nation. 

Funding for the project comes from a combination of grants and loans from Palau, Japan, Australia, and the United States. While initially intended as a backup connection, the second cable’s lower operating costs could make it Palau’s primary link upon completion. 

“The new target date for service is the first quarter of 2025,” explained former BSCC CEO Robin Russell.  

“This is due to delays on the main Echo cable project. Singapore regulators imposed additional requirements, including a seagrass survey. BSCC has finished nearly all the work on our end, but we can’t offer service until the main cable is operational.” 

Despite the delay, BSCC assures customers that internet service costs will not increase. The corporation is already making loan payments for the second cable’s construction. “We don’t foresee raising rates in the near future,” said CEO Silas.