The Tui-Samoa Cable project’s cost had been confirmed.
The Minister of Communications and Information Technology and Cable operation Chairman, Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau, said he expects the project to cost around US$50 million (SAT$115m).
The route the internet cable will take has been confirmed as well, and the whole country is expected to benefit from it.
Tuisuga said other nations want to be connected to the cable too, which will benefit Samoa.
“At the moment we have interest from Wallis and Futuna,” he said.
“We also have other interests from the government of Fiji to connect to their other outer islands of Vanu’alevu [Savusavu].”
“As [the] basis of commercial enterprising, we believe that the more islands connected to us and the cable, the better the operational cost will be for us, or in other words, it will be cheaper for us.”
The Minister was asked about his views on the Moana Cable that will be operated by Bluesky.
“That will increase the competition, if we have another cable different from our Tui-Samoa Cable; it will help us, because that will mean that we have a better edge in competitiveness and costs.”
Asked to explain the difference between the two cables, Tuisuga said he couldn’t say much as he knew little about the Moana Cable.
“The only information that I know was the information that was published publically. Other than that, I don’t know much about it,” he said.
However, he believed that having Moana Cable on board will also benefit Samoa.
“When another cable comes on board, I think we will be [in a] better position to benefit from it, because we are already online. The more that will come on board, the better it will be for us, if we connect to them that is additional redundancy which we need. So that if anything happens to our cable in Fiji, at least there will still be another connection available for our people.”
The Tui-Samoa cable will go from Apia to Suva, Fiji, with a branching unit to Savai’i, linking to the Southern Cross Cable Network, to Hawaii in the north, and to Sydney in the south.
The connectivity project aims to sustain Samoa’s economic growth for the next 25 years, through improved access to quality internet for all Samoans, especially those from low income households in rural communities.
Tender documents, for the construction of the Tui-Samoa Cable, were released on 26 November 2015 and will close on 2 February 2016. Evaluations of all bids are expected to be completed by mid-March and a contract signed by May 2016.
The Tui-Samoa Cable project is scheduled for completion and launch in the third quarter of 2017.