Australia partnering with Japan and United States to finance Palau undersea cable

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The Australia is partnering with Japan and the United States to finance an undersea fibre optic cable to the Republic of Palau. This project, valued at approximately US$30 million, will ensure reliable, secure digital connectivity in Palau.

The Palau spur cable will be the first project under the Trilateral Partnership for Infrastructure Investment in the Indo-Pacific between Australia, Japan and the United States. It demonstrates a shared commitment to delivering sustainable, transparent, high-quality infrastructure projects in the region. The spur cable will connect Palau to a new cable which will span the Indo-Pacific region from Singapore to the west coast of the United States.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said this project highlights Australia’s close friendship with Palau.

“Australia and Palau have a strong bilateral relationship,” Minister Payne said. “As part of Australia’s Pacific Step-Up, Australia recently opened its first Embassy in Palau. This presence bolsters Australia’s diplomatic network – already the largest in the region of any country.

“We are very pleased to work alongside Japan and the United States to support Palau’s vision to strengthen its global internet connectivity.”

Australia will contribute approximately US$10 million to the Palau cable project. This includes US$1.4 million for a marine survey and branching unit, and a loan of approximately US$9 million from the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) to help finance the construction of the cable. Japan, the United States and Palau are also making significant contributions.

This new project builds on Australia’s support to the Coral Sea Cable System, which consists of 4,700km of cable connecting Port Moresby, Honiara and Sydney. Australia is also supporting the scoping of Timor-Leste’s first undersea fibre optic cable, through the provision of financing for the Front End Engineering Design for this important telecommunications project, at the request of the Government of Timor-Leste.

Secure and reliable internet connectivity in the region will open up opportunities to boost tourism, business and investment, and to provide better government services, including health and education.

The Palau project highlights Australia’s strong commitment to the Pacific, as demonstrated by the Pacific Step-up, our A$1.44 billion of aid committed to the region in 2020-21, and the A$2 billion AIFFP. The AIFFP supports quality infrastructure in Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste.

As a Pacific country, and the region’s largest donor, Australia has a strong interest in supporting the region’s prosperity, stability, sovereignty and sustainability.

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