Belau Submarine Cable Corporation (BSCC) completed the Pre-Lay Shore End (PLSE) for the Palau Cable 2 (PC2) project, landing the cable at the Ngardmau port on June 6th. The PC2 is a branch of the Echo subsea cable, being the second international subsea cable connection for Palau, with direct connections to Singapore and the mainland United States.
The PC2 project costs about US$30million, funded by Japan, the United States and Australia under the Trilateral Partnership for Infrastructure Investment in the Indo-Pacific, with equity sourced from Compact of Free Association funding from US Department of the Interior, debt from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP), and grant support from USAID, the Australian Embassy, Koror and AIFFP.
The primary contractor of the PC2 project is NEC of Japan. NEC have sub-contracted landing support to Surangel and Sons Construction of Palau. NEC has chartered the Strider for marine operations.
The Strider, a specialised cable-laying vessel, started the pre-laying early morning. The submarine fibre optic cable connects from a base at Ngardmau port out 7km into deep water where it is dropped awaiting the later hook up to the larger cable. According to BSCC, the next cable segment will be laid about 100km out to a branching unit of the Echo subsea cable. The Echo subsea cable project is expected to be completed by the 3rd quarter of 2023 and Palau’s cable is expected to connect by the 1st quarter of 2024.
The PC2 cable system will be terminated at a prefabricated modular Cable Landing Station (CLS) in Ngardmau. BSCC has contracted with Australian DXN Limited (DXN) to supply the CLS for US$779,000 or AU$1.1 million. The CLS is being shipped from Perth, Australia to Palau, to be ready for terminal and power equipment installation in August 2022.
The Palau Cable 2 (PC2) and BSCC’s existing Palau Cable 1 (PC1) will form diverse international connections for Palau. PC1 is the first international submarine cable for Palau, completed in 2017. BSCC’s network will provide robust, high-speed, equitable access to a variety of international destinations from the new BSCC Cable Access Point at Airai.