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ASTCA 2nd quarter report highlights accomplishments

fili@samoanews.com

The American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority collected just over $4.77 million in revenue in the second quarter of fiscal year 2012 while total expenditures for the same quarter were just over $3.79 million, according to the semi autonomous agency’s second quarter performance report for the period of Jan.1-Mar. 31, 2012.

The report, submitted by ASTCA executive director, Aleki Sene Sr., states that the highest expenditure for the 2nd quarter is $1.91 million for “All Others” category, followed by $795,349 in personnel costs. ASTCA’s budget for FY 2012 is $15 million and as of Mar. 31 this year, total revenue collected stands at $9.33 million.

ASTCA points out that its capital improvement projects are funded entirely from the revenue it generates through various telecommunication services offered to the public and as a result, a project cannot start or be implemented unless adequate funds have been collected and set aside.

At the end of the second quarter, “ASTCA already spent over a million dollars in system upgrades and capital improvement projects,” according to the report, which also outlines ASTCA’s accomplishments for the quarter.

For example, ASTCA completed plans for inside plant design and equipment, and finalized contracts for the network equipment build-out part of the Broadband Linking the American Samoa Territory (BLAST) project, funded with a $91 million grant and loan stimulus money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS).

In addition to inside plant progress, outside plant design and construction “met a major milestone” in the quarter with the first proposed request for bids submitted to RUS for final review and approval.

According to the report, this initial outside plant construction will include overhead construction beginning in Lauli’i extending west to Fagatogo. Additionally, ASTCA is working with RM Towill company to complete the preliminary (70%) civil plans for horizontal construction along the roads on the Eastern side of Tutuila.

In April this year, Petaluma, Calif., based telecommunication equipment supplier, Calix Inc. announced it has been selected by ASTCA to support and implement the BLAST project, which will deliver advanced broadband services across the islands.

ASTCA’s legal counsel, Gwen Tauiliili-Langkilde told Samoa News in April that because  telecommunications equipment used for the BLAST project is specialized, unique equipment, the Calix equipment contract was not put out to bid.

“Calix is uniquely capable of providing access equipment for ASTCA’s telecommunications network,” she explained. “Calix is an existing ASTCA service provider, supplying ASTCA with specialized telecommunications equipment since 2008.”

“In fact, Calix equipment was specified as the access equipment of choice in ASTCA's funding application to RUS,” she said.  (See Samoa News story  Apr. 26 for full details)

OTHER ACCOMPLISHMENTS

The report states that over 89 new DSL internet subscribers were added to ASTCA’s network in the quarter. “Because of the new and improve connectivity to the internet backbone through the submarine fiber optic cable, a substantial number of new users received DSL service” in this quarter, it says.

In March this year, ASTCA installed its 3rd DS3 line from the American Samoa Hawaii Cable (ASH Cable) network, increasing its overall fiber optic cable capacity by 30%, according to the report but didn’t say as to the cost of adding the third line. (ASH Cable, which is 33% owned by ASG, is the owner and operator of the fiber optic cable)

“This increased capacity is needed to meet the growing bandwidth demands of ASTCA’s DSL subscribers as well as special circuit customers,” it says.

ASTCA will be dedicating its new building Monday morning.



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