The Tui cable will go live next month - if there are no glitches along the way. That is the assurance given by the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i in response to questions from the Samoa Observer.
He has also assured the public that prices for Internet will be significantly cheaper.
Earlier this month, the Tui Samoa Cable was brought to its landing site in Moata’a, a milestone that was commemorated during a ceremony.
The Samoa Submarine Cable Company Limited (S.S.C.C) and Alcatel Submarine Networks (A.S.N) began the loading of the 1,470 km Tui-Samoa Cable in July, 2017.
The cable is being loaded on a freighter in Calais, France, at A.S.N’s factory: the freighter will sail at the end of the month towards Suva, where the cable will then be transferred to the laying cable ship.
According to the Minister of M.C.I.T. currently, the cable is being laid between Fatuna and Suva Fiji.
“The plan is to reach Fiji by the second week of December then the testing period starts with the intention to go live before Christmas.
“All this depends on the smooth operation of the cable-laying process currently in progress so let’s hope it goes well.”
Regarding cheap internet and what the public needs to expect, Afamasaga stated the price will be less than US$90 ($216T).
“Government and S.S.C.C. have been working to significantly reduce wholesale capacity prices from an estimated US$300 (771 tala) Mbps to a price which will be less than US$90.
“It is intended that with affordable bandwidth pricing Samoans licensed telecommunications operators will be able to increase the value proposition for their retail customers.
“In short Samoans retail customers should see a significant increase in their data bundles,” explained the Minister.
At the landing of the Tui Cable in Moata’a, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi laid out the strategic reasons for developing the Tui-Samoa Cable are to:
• bridge the digital divide for the people of Samoa and our neighbouring island nations
• promoting economic and social developments
• providing Samoa with access to fast, reliable and affordable wholesale broadband internet.
“The other important deliverable for Tui-Samoa is connectivity, will be a key driver in realizing the ambitions of the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals for small island developing states including Samoa as we strive to ensure that we do not leave anyone or any place behind.
“This is especially true when only 18% of people in Least Developed Countries use the internet, compared with 80% in developed countries.
“The Tui-Samoa will ensure that Samoa, Wallis and Futuna and Vanua Levu Fiji will not be left behind. Connectivity is therefore a vital ingredient of structural transformation and sustainable development, and critical to the efforts of Small Island developing states graduate from least developed status.
“Connectivity will be crucial to building resilience in our economy, so that we can tackle the many other complex issues we are confronted with, including climate change.”
He reiterated the Tui-Samoa will provide fast, reliable and affordable wholesale broadband internet.
“However, there is a critical need to improve access to national fibre-optic infrastructure.
“Lease developed countries rely mostly on mobile broadband networks to deliver reliable, broadband Internet access to users and business.
“So there remains a need for Samoa to continue to invest in wireless broadband internet infrastructure, both in terms of national backbone and last mile service delivery.
“However, with the emergence of advanced 4G+ and disruptive 5G technologies, Samoa needs to ensure that we have the appropriate infrastructure sharing policies in order to leverage the benefits of those new technologies.
“Therefore, in anticipation of the future technology requirements for Samoa, Government had built the Samoa National Broadband ‘fibre-optic’ highway connecting the Apia CBS which is operated by CSL; Blue-sky has also substantial national fibre-optic assets with nationwide coverage,” said Tuialepa earlier this month.