What’s good for Upolu is also good for Savai’i.
With that mantra, the government walked the talk yesterday when it launched the Savai’i component of the new $57.4 million submarine cable system, which promises to deliver “affordable high-speed internet access to Samoa.”
And no one was happier than the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, who spoke on behalf of Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi during the groundbreaking ceremony at Tuasivi.
“Today we celebrate the historical ground breaking ceremony for the first ever Cable landing station on the big island of Savai’i here at Tuasivi where some government agencies are located,” said Sili.
“This Cable connection will provide affordable and fast internet connection for the people in Savai’i as well as visitors.”
Sili reminded the Savai’i leg of the journey is a key step in the government’s efforts to make Samoa the submarine cable hub of the Pacific region.
But the project would not be possible without the support of key partners.
These include the Asian Development Bank (A.D.B.), World Bank and the government of Australia.
The World Bank Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, was present at the launch.
“We all know how vital internet and telecommunications connectivity is to development – enhancing everything from business opportunities, delivery of healthcare and education, disaster resilience and response, and even agriculture,” she said.
“We are proud to continue working with the government and people of Samoa, and development partners, to expedite the delivery of faster, cheaper connectivity.”
At a groundbreaking ceremony, officials turned the first sod to mark the start of construction of what a cable landing station for the new 1,300 kilometer system linking the country’s largest islands, Upolu and Savai’i, to the Southern Cross Cable Network in Suva, Fiji, and to the Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands via a spur.
In a media statement, the Minister of Communications & Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i, said high-speed internet is essential to improving the lives of ordinary Samoan people.
“The government of Samoa is working hard to position our nation as a submarine cable hub for the Pacific — we look forward to realizing this vision with the private sector, and the support of development partners.”
The project aims to deliver low-cost broadband services to Samoa and strengthen the regulatory and legal environment for information and communications technology.
The submarine cable project is expected to deliver Samoa a wide range of improvements to public services, including an e-health patient information system to improve patient care within the Samoan health system, as well as significant benefits to education, business, tourism, agriculture, as well as disaster planning and response. The cable is expected to reach land in Apia and Savai’i in early 2018.
The outer island of Savai’i will be connected to the Tui-Samoa cable, enabling it to receive high-speed internet for the first time,” said Robert Jauncey, Regional Director of A.D.B’s South Pacific Subregional Office.
“Faster, more affordable broadband should open up new domestic and regional economic opportunities and boost the delivery of public and social services.”
Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, Sue Langford, said the Cable is a critical piece of infrastructure for Samoa.
“This new cable will enable fast and efficient connectivity that aims to benefit all Samoans. It has potential to transform the way businesses operate and improve service delivery across all sectors.”