American Samoa files ‘letter of intent’

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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Samoa Submarine Cable Company (S.S.C.C.).

Samoa Submarine Cable Company (S.S.C.C.).

The American Samoa Government (A.S.G.) has filed their ‘Letter of Intent’ with the Samoa Submarine Cable Company (S.S.C.C.) to join the Tui Samoa cable. 

However the cost may have gone up, given that they did not sign on when they were first approached. 

This is according to Pepe Fia'ailetoa Fruean, of S.S.C.C, during an interview with the Samoa Observer. 

The S.S.C.C. held a conference call earlier this month with American Samoa Telecommunications Authority Chairman of the Board and Interim C.E.O, Puleleiite Tufele Li’a Jr and A.S.G. Official Aoe’e Adolfo Montenegro.

“They have come up with their proposal,” Pepe told the Samoa Observer. 

He did not go into details of American Samoa’s proposal, but pointed out there may be changes in the cost from the first offer that only good up until July 2017. 

 “If they had signed on when we asked them, once the Cable lands in Samoa then we can start the process of laying the cable between the two Samoas." 

“But because we had no arrangement, the Cable stops here then it goes back to Fiji then to Tonga. Then it goes back to Fiji then it’s back to our waters and there are costs where the cable travels." 

“The cost that was on the table for them (A.S.G.) then may not be same cost now. We have to ask the Cable people, because without the commitment, we cannot make the arrangements.”

In the spirit of unity, Pepe believes that the two Samoas need to work together for the better future of the Samoan people and the much faster and cheaper internet that comes with the Tui Samoa Cable. 

“We will continue to engage with American Samoa as we believe in the spirit of unity,” said Pepe.  

He said it is a win-win for the two Samoa’s with the new undersea fiber optic cable and once it’s laid it will be called the Two Samoa Cable. 

As reported earlier, Puleleiite announced they are signing on the Tui Samoa Cable. 

The decision follows concerns expressed by the Governor of American Samoa, Lolo Matalasi Moliga, who said he was “not satisfied” with the proposal from Samoa about the Tui Samoa cable. 

Earlier this year, Governor Lolo told the Samoa Observer he was concerned about “conflicting” money obligations, as well as the “lack of clarity” in terms of cost and benefits analysis. 

“The presentation (by Samoa) was conducted in a manner where we left with many unanswered questions,” Governor Lolo said in March.

But things appear to have been sorted now.

Puleleiite told Talanei News that American Samoa will be signing on to Samoa’s cable, due to go live in January 2018.

The move coincides with the agreement the former Board of Directors of A.S.T.C.A. signed with the Hawaiki Cable, which is scheduled to launch service in American Samoa next year. 

He said the capacity of the existing American Samoa Hawaii Cable is maxed out and going with Samoa’s Tui Samoa cable is the fastest solution to the bandwidth problem.

The reason why internet service is slow now is because there’s not enough bandwidth,” he told Talanei. 

“Currently A.S.T.C.A. has only 500 plus megabytes of bandwidth: 400 from O3 B network and 145 megabytes from the American Samoa Hawaii Cable, whose capacity is just 1 gigabyte shared by Samoa and American Samoa. 

“The Tui Samoa cable will provide 10 gigabytes. Once they go live, the idea is to get capacity there until we get more capacity once Hawaiki lands in mid-2018. 

“American Samoa is going with both the Tui cable and the Hawaiki cable." 

In March, Governor Lolo said approval from the federal government was required in order to sign on with the Tui cable. 

“We will be asking the federal government for money to fund it and they have already expressed their concerns given the cable will be laid through foreign countries.” 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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