“What’s good for Upolu is also good for Savai’i.”
The popular saying coined by the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) government rung out loud and clear yesterday when the big island welcomed the Tui Samoa Cable.
And with the launch, there is hope the Tui-Samoa cable will bridge the digital divide and provide connectivity for the people of Savai’i and the rest of the world.
Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, spoke during a brief ceremony at Si’ufaga to mark the arrival of the Cable to Savai’i.
It was an occasion to behold. Fire dancers on the beach, conch shells monotones, lali wooden drums beats greeted the arrival of the cable.
Sili said the landing of the Tui-Samoa cable in Savai’i was another significant milestone.
It is another milestone in the journey of the Samoa Submarine Cable Company (S.S.C.C.) in a bold move to make Samoa the hub for telecommunication connectivity in the Pacific.
“Government has invested US$25 million in the Tui- Samoa cable to provide the most affordable internet pricing in the region."
“The Tui Samoa will make its way 1,500KM to Suva, Fiji, to complete the project with spurs to the islands of Wallis and Futuna and Vanua Levu in Fiji,” Sili said.
“The strategy for the Development of Samoa sets out the current vision to improve lives of our people."
“The Tui Samoa Cable is one of the key enablers that will help Samoa achieve that vision.”
Sili also added the Tui Samoa Submarine Cable Company had been at the forefront of regional connectivity partnerships.
“The Tui Samoa connectivity project is an excellent example of our Pacific leader’s vision of regional cooperation.”
Aided by the success of the Tui Samoa, Sili said the government had now embarked on complimentary submarine cable projects to assist other smaller island states.
“The next exciting project will be the Manatua Cable linking Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Niue and Samoa and there are plans in the making for a regional project, the ‘One Pacific Cable’ with potential to link Micronesia, Melanesian and involve up to 10 nations."
“It is a fact that 18 percent of people in Least Development Countries use the internet, compared with 80 percent in developed countries."
“Connectivity therefore, will be a key driver in realising the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for Small Island developing states.”
He added the last area the government would focus on was improving literacy.
“This will necessitate extending access for Samoan women and girls, men and boys with disabilities."
“In short, government will encourage its ministries, the private sector and N.G.O's to work together to develop user-friendly applications to improve services for all our people.”
Sili said this was critically important in ensuring that access to broadband internet translated into positive development outcomes for Samoa and its entire people.