Ministry considers satellite-based internet

The Ministry of Education Sports and Culture is currently looking at satellite-based internet options for students in Samoa.

The Ministry’s Chief Executive Officer, Afamasaga Dr. Karoline Afamasaga-Fuatai, told the Samoa Observer on Monday that they have "plenty of projects” and are considering other internet connectivity options for students.

"We are considering and looking at satellites," Afamasaga said. "So the opportunity is there for us to look at other means beyond the two internet providers and that's looking at getting satellites.

Afamasaga said the M.E.S.C. is currently in discussions for satellite-based internet to enable students in Samoa to overcome “dark spots” when trying to access the internet.

Asked how many schools were able to access online learning since the lockdown last year, she said: "We have 333 centers and colleges and schools, all were given or had the opportunity to get SIM from Vodafone.

“We partnered with them and they were to give us 63,000 SIM so far we have given out 18,000 SIM and more are going to come in anticipation of the next shut down.”

When asked if nearly 100 per cent of schools have internet access, she said: "Well I would say so but then there’s the connectivity and the access at the school but when it's lockdown you don’t access the school internet do you?"

"We partner with Vodafone for student SIM and also zero data with Digicel so that students are accessing through their own devices because the school connection and connectivity is only as good as the school is open, when it's not open then students can’t access.”

Afamasaga said that they also went the other way and made sure student SIM cards are available.

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