Samoa becomes connectivity hub: Minister
Samoa has become a regional hub for telecommunications infrastructure which the Government is now using to attract private sector investment, Minister of Communication, Information and Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupai, says.
In Parliament on Monday, Afamasaga announced that additional fibre cable from the Submarine Cable Company Ltd was now in place, completing the laying of the Manatua Cable. The cable is now being tested.
The 3700-kilometre fibre cable cost the Government $4 million tala, Afamasaga told the Samoa Observer
"We are now [looking] to build a conducive environment for our economic benefits from these cables to enhance our economy and build an environment that attracts overseas companies," he said.
"This is why it was the Government's vision to bring in these fibre cables connections which have now made Samoa the Pacific hub for information telecommunication and technology as we now have three fibre cables.
"Not only that, we now have a satellite. So we have started to organise incentives and promotion for overseas companies to come into Samoa."
Samoa is currently served by the Tui Samoa Cable, and the Manatua Cable will serve as a necessary back up, if the primary cable is damaged in any way.
A third cable is in American Samoa and used by Vodafone.
Further backup services are provided by satellite internet services.
"If you look inside, you can only do so much because we only have about 200,000 people, so what else? We look outside," he said.
"And looking at the connection and fast connectivity, we can do business with the world. We are ready globally to do business with the world."
In Parliament, he also revealed that a call centre company's request is currently under consideration by the Government. If realised, the proposal would involve employing more than 300 Samoans before the year ends.
Another company, an accounting firm, is interested in setting up a base in Samoa while they conduct services for overseas companies, Afamsaga said.
"The current status is that our [demand continues] to rise but our companies and income stay the same, the numbers do not increase," he said
"So now we are looking to use these fibre cables to attract overseas investments for companies to come, to increase our economy and opportunities for our people."
Afamasaga said that as the Government looks at ways to increase connectivity in the country, they are also looking at ways to further strengthen cybersecurity at each step of the way.
His statement comes almost two years after the signing of the agreement that led to Manatua Cable with Niue’s Premier, Sir Toke Talagi, the Cook Islands Prime Minister, Henry Puna and the President of French Polynesia, Tagaloa Eduard Fritch in New Zealand.
The Manatua Cable connects fibre to Niue and the Cook Islands (Rarotonga and Aitutaki) for the first time, as well as Tahiti and Bora Bora in French Polynesia.
It connected Samoa a year later exactly at Moata'a.