Australia is providing USD561,000 for a marine survey that will support preparations for a second internet submarine cable into Palau.
Reliable, low cost, high speed internet connectivity is critical for government services, business connections to global markets and community ties.
Australia's funding builds on the AUD$2,000,000 provided in 2016 to land the first submarine cable and support regulatory and policy reforms in Palau's information and communications sector.
Self isolation and social gathering measures mean schools are conducting studies online, business employees are working from home and international business and government meetings are conducted over the internet.
"Australia is proud to be supporting the Republic of Palau's internet infrastructure. The marine survey is a critical component to ensure reliable internet connections are maintained in the future," said Australian Ambassador to Palau, Richelle Turner.
"If the first cable is damaged then connectivity will be lost. The marine survey will support the Republic of Palau prepare for the construction of a second internet cable."
"The second internet cable will provide redundancy, enabling the government to continue to provide e-services, businesses to operate in a global market and family members to connect with each other."
"A second internet cable remains a priority for national resilience," said the President of the Republic of Palau, Tommy Remengesau Jr.
"Assistance from Australia means groundwork can be laid for the second cable connection, enabling construction to commence once the Palau economy restabilises. The Republic of Palau appreciates Australia's ongoing support," he said.
Funding for the marine survey will go to Belau Submarine Cable Corporation (BSCC).
BSCC is managing a contract with the NEC Corporation of Japan to conduct the marine survey using specialist services from EGS.