Palau Leadership Urged To Support Fiber Optic Cable Bill

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ADB support in jeopardy without government funding

By Peter Erick L. Magbanua

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, April 30, 2015) – Fiber Optic Task Force Chairman Rhinehart Silas said that the Belau Sub-Marine Cable Corporation must be acted upon immediately by the leadership of Palau.

Silas made this presentation during the Leadership Meeting held last April 27 at the Palasia Hotel and pointed out that among the items on the agenda, this requires the most urgency at the moment.

"If we do not act on this bill, funding will not be released from Asian Development Bank. If time lapses, the funding, even though it has been set aside for Palau, cannot be loaned out because we have missed deadline," Silas said.

He also stated that they have partnered with FSM to cut cost, because it would be too expensive for Palau alone to layout cables to Guam. FSM will be receiving funding through a grant whereas Palau will be taking out a loan.

"FSM has the opportunity to commence with connection from Yap to Guam. Once this opportunity is missed, we would have to find ways to secure more funding to connect Palau to Guam. This partnership was created to help keep cost low and the timing factor in this partnership is crucial," he added.

He further stated that both FSM and Palau are considering companies currently in the Pacific and has identified one that is laying fiber optic cables near Palau and Guam.

On the other hand, the members of the Leadership proposed that to help with the work of committee, it would be helpful for Silas to provide options with timelines and associated costs to help with understanding while in deliberation.

The leaders also agree on commitment to pass the Belau Sub-Marine Cable Corporation act before the end of April Regular Session.

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