ASTCA spends $100K on Lolo's Manu'a Development Initiative
Over $100,000 was spent by the American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority under Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s Manu’a Development Initiative, whereby all ASG offices and departments on Tutuila now have an office or branch in the Manu’a island group.
The governor’s initiative, which was officially launched July 16, is to ensure that government services available on Tutuila are also made available to residents in Manu'a. The main goal is to develop the island group's infrastructure and economy, long ignored by the local government in past years.
Because of ASTCA’s obligation to the public insofar as offering telecommunications services, the semi-autonomous agency engaged in the development project for Manu’a and “has spent over $100,000 of unbudgeted funds from its own coffers to mobilize personnel, material, equipment, and supplies in support of the governor’s initiative” both in Ta’u and Ofu islands. This is according to ASTCA’s third quarter performance report covering the period of Apr. 1 - Jun. 30, 2013.
One major accomplishment for the Manu’a Development initiative, according to the report, is the collaborative work between ASTCA and the Office of Public Information, by which KVZK-TV was able to broadcast live from Manu’a for the first time during the Manu’a Cession Day celebration during the Manu'a Cession Day on July 16.
Other Manu’a development services provided by ASTCA, as cited in the report, cover the installation of 80 individual lines including a total of 40 telephones and 40 fax lines in all government offices. These lines required additional cables and resulted in two crews having to be sent to Manu’a for three weeks to carry out the work.
ASTCA also installed 40 internet capabilities and two-PBX telephone systems to service the pair of mini executive office buildings - one each on Ta’u and Ofu - as well as new fiber-optic lines to accommodate the increasing cellular capacity in anticipation of traffic on Ta’u and Ofu. The ASTCA crew also realigned the Ta’u microwave dish to face Ofu, for increased reception and capacity.
Regarding the issue of cellular service for American Samoa, the report states that ASTCA’s territory-wide cellular system has been and is experiencing a high degree of incomplete and dropped calls due to insufficient capacity, which is the result of an “aging” system designed and installed more than ten years ago.
“The outmoded system is being upgraded and is progressing well, which will alleviate said network weaknesses, plus offer more capacity for growth and reliability,” the report states.
The project is funded by ASTCA and is slated to be completed by the end of this month.
ASTCA’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2014 includes $550,000 “to upgrade and erect more cell sites and enhance core switching mechanisms, and is also part of an ongoing improvement coverage to increase customer satisfaction with service offering."
ASTCA’s FY 2014 budget totals $16 million, an increase of $1 million from the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, 2013.
According to details noted in the budget booklet, their FY 2013 budget includes a $400,000 allocation for its cellular system upgrade.
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