Samoa govn't services available 24/7 close to reality

Government services available 24 hours leapt closer to reality with the launch of its broadband highway yesterday morning.

“All government agencies in Apia and around the country will be connected to the network for easier and quicker exchange of information,” said Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi at the launch of the Samoa National Broadband Highway (SNBH).

Government’s vision is to ensure that Government services are available 24/7 to promote accountability, transparency and efficiency, Tuilaepa said.

SNBH will link all government ministries, corporations and authorities.

Schools will be wired to connect to the network – as well as hospitals and health centres, Police and emergency services.

SNBH should be ready to be handed over to Government in the first half of 2014, Tuilaepa said.

Broadband is a Government priority because communication technology is a powerful tool to improve the delivery of basic services, enhance development and take part in the global economy, Tuilaepa said.

He said a complete liberalization of the telecom market in July 2009 played a big part in:

95% cellular mobile coverage for the whole country;
5 Internet Service Providers;
Use of mobile phones to transfer money and to pay bills;
98% of Government ministries, corporations and authorities have websites;
Feso’ota’i Centres so that citizens can access ICT from around the country;
More than 10 internet cafes in Apia and around the country;
IP TV service for more channels in addition to satellite TV and local TV content;
E-Rate programme providing primary schools computers and internet connection;
ASH Submarine Fibre Cable launched in May 2009 that resulted in a 40 fold increase in internet access speed.

SNBH is funded through a soft loan from the Peoples’ Republic of China to the Government of Samoa via Exim Bank of $US20 million.

The technical solution provider is Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd in partnership with a Cabinet appointed sub-committee made up of the chief executive officers of the Ministries of Communications, Finance, Electric Power Corporation (EPC), Computer Services Ltd amongst others.


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