ASTCA and Hawaiki amend agreement including funding

Source: ASTCA media release

American Samoa Telecommunications Authority (ASTCA) and Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP (Hawaiki) have signed an amendment to their agreement for the installation of a spur connecting American Samoa to the Hawaiki cable and the provision of international capacity to mainland United States.

The contract amendment was successfully negotiated by the parties over the last few weeks and will boost the partnership between Hawaiki and ASTCA, including an updated funding plan based on a mix of local and federal financial sources.

One of the key outcomes of the agreement includes the provision of 200 Gigabits of Internet bandwidth — more than 150 times the capacity currently available in American Samoa — giving ASTCA access to a large volume of capacity at a very competitive cost. This will enable ASTCA to sell capacity to its Pacific neighbors at the lowest price, and position American Samoa as a hub for broadband connectivity in the Polynesian region.

Hawaiki will start the laying operations in the second week of October 2017 and plans to install the American Samoa spur, which is already manufactured and loaded onto the cable ship, in the first quarter of 2018.

The cable system is expected to be in commercial service in June 2018.

“This project is exciting for our territory, as it will help to bridge the digital divide and allow American Samoa to truly participate in the digital economy, as well as taking advantage of e-health and e-education initiatives to improve opportunities for our people,” said Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga at today’s signing.

Pule Tufele, Executive Director of ASTCA, said: “This will allow us to fulfill the intentions and original plans of the BLAST project, which was to provide an Internet experience for American Samoa residents that is comparable to that which is in the US mainland. We have a target speed of 25 Megabits per second to each home, which we are confident we will achieve. We will not raise the price for internet to our customers, but we will look to add better value and additional service plans for our customers when the time is right.

Remi Galasso, CEO of Hawaiki said, “Hawaiki is the only submarine cable system under construction to propose to Pacific islands countries and territories direct connectivity to mainland United States. We support ASTCA’s strategy to become a hub for the Polynesian region and are extremely pleased to bring Hawaiki Cable and its associated benefits to the territory of American Samoa. It is a real pleasure to sign this amendment today and to pursue the close working relationship we have with ASTCA. We are grateful to ASTCA and especially to the Governor of American Samoa for his vision and persistence in pushing this project forward.”

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