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There’s been no further information from the American Samoa Government (ASG) regarding plans to expand fibre optic capacity for American Samoa and whether it will sign on with Samoa’s Tui Samoa Cable.
The governor’s Chief Legal Counsel, Steve Watson, referred KHJ News inquiries on the subject to the Interim CEO of the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority, Puleleiite Tufele Lia Jr.
Puleleiite has been in constant meetings and has not responded to messages on this and other subjects pertaining to telecommunications.
When KHJ News reached out to the chairman of the Board of Samoa Sub-marine Cable Company, the company that’s managing the Tui Samoa Cable, Pepe Christian Fruean, he responded and answered questions about where things stand.
As listeners would recall, the Samoan Prime Minister had written twice to Governor Lolo Moliga inviting American Samoa on board the Tui Samoa Cable.
A delegation led by the Samoa Communications Minister also met here with a local delegation led by Lt Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga to discuss the proposal.
According to Pepe they have never heard back from the American Samoa Government leadership.
Pepe, who is also chairman of the board of Digicel Samoa, and is highly regarded in the Pacific region and internationally as an expert on telecommunications, indicated that traffic from American Samoa, particularly with the federal government is valuable for the Tui Samoa Cable.
He said if the two Samoas market their broadband capacity jointly, the benefits would include discounts which can be passed on to the consumer.
Samoa is still keen for American Samoa to sign on to the Tui Samoa Cable and wants to discuss with the local leadership several options on how to finance the Samoa to American Samoa spur for the cable.
Industry sources have told KHJ News that Samoa is offering to pay for all costs associated with laying the spur from Apia to here and have American Samoa pay back the costs back under an agreed to arrangement.
When asked about this Pepe said that was a possibility and pointed out that the Tui Samoa Cable project has the capability to make this happen.
There are also other financing options, but it’s up to American Samoa to make the choice, he said.
An interview that Governor Lolo Moliga conducted with the Samoa Observer in Apia earlier, referred to State Department concerns about the Tui Samoa Cable being foreign owned, as well as questions about the equipment used in the cable project being foreign.
Pepe said that all the equipment associated with the Tui Samoa Cable is Federal Communications Commission, compliant.
It’s not known how ASTCA signing an MOU with another undersea fibre optic cable, Hawaiki Cable, will impact the decision on whether American Samoa will sign on to the Tui Samoa Cable.
SOURCE: TALANEI NEWS/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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