Samoa is blessed by the Polynesian Leaders Group (P.L.G.) to proceed with full speed and develop the One Polynesia I.C.T. policy.
Tabled at the group’s meeting in Apia this week, the One Polynesia document is designed to overcome the expensive cost of internet facing the 9 P.L.G. member countries.
“The challenge that we have is that we lack buying power,” says Chairman of the Tui-Samoa Cable, Pepe Christian Fruean. in his presentation to the group.
“We go to the market as individual countries and as individual countries we are buying in increments.”
“Basically the cost for per megabit is $65 US dollars but if we were to work as a buying group we are able to aggregate all our capacity to achieve cost reductions to a dollar 75cents US per megabit.”
“Unless we make changes from how we purchase, we can’t support the digital change that we are looking for because it cost too much.”
For example he noted that four Pacific Island countries are already connected to the Tui-Samoa Cable which will provide wholesale purchasing leverage.
“For Samoa just by reducing the price of internet we will be able to stimulate our economy by 30 US million dollars a year and it’s not insignificant that by reducing the price we are improving the livelihood of our people , offering new employment opportunities etc.”
Another opportunity for the wholesale buying power to be best put into practice is the Manatua Consortium, a partnership connecting Tahiti, Cook Islands Niue and Samoa and will complement the Tui-Samoa and other cables in the region.
The One Polynesia Policy will also provide back-up for the fiber optic network that will ensure back-up support is available.
And Samoa’s ingenuity did not go unnoticed with praises from Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga.
“They are innovative ideas and they support the Group’s aspirations. Why not?” said the Premier.
“That’s the whole idea of partnerships.”
“For small islands like Tuvalu with big oceans between the islands, communications is extremely important, it’s critical.”
“I am thrilled and fully support any means to improve my country’s I.C.T. capacity. It will provide feeling of security amongst the people particularly those on the outer islands.”