Hawaiki cable to land in territory on Apr. 21 — it’s a good month

fili@samoanews.com

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The vessel, CS Responder, which is laying the undersea fiber optic cable for Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP is scheduled to arrive in the territory next week, after the 2018 Flag Day, while a two-member team involved with the cable is scheduled to arrive tonight to install the landing cable, according to American Samoa TeleCommunications (ASTCA) officials.

Hawaiki will link Australia and New Zealand to the US mainland, as well as Hawai’i and American Samoa, with options to expand to other South Pacific islands. ASTCA will own the American Samoa spur of the cable connection to Hawaiki.

At yesterday’s official opening of the three-day 2018 Business Festival, or BizFest, at the Suigaula o le Atuvasa Park in Utulei, ASTCA chief executive officer, Pulele’iite Liamatua Tufele, who was the keynote speaker, spoke about the Hawaiki cable project.

According to Pulele’iite, the governor and the administration have been informed that April “is a good month” because Apr. 21st is when the cable lands here.

And this “will officially start and confer the efforts and partnership between ASTCA, the American Samoa Government as well as all of our existing partners, not only in technology funding but support they have offered along with Hawaiki.” he said.

When the Hawaiki cable is up and running, Puleleiite said it will provide 200 gigabytes of bandwidth compared to one-gigabit available from the current fiber optic cable provider, American Samoa Hawaii Cable (ASH Cable).

(ASH Cable is 33% owned by the American Samoa Government while the majority is held by Florida-based eLandia Industries.)

The ASTCA CEO said Hawaiki cable will bring improvements to connectivity with a faster pace than the current status, and better internet connection.

Additionally, “it will bring with it a lot of improvements not only in education, health, tele-medicine, e-commerce, and business….even creating job opportunities, as well as effectively... making things easier for the services of the government towards our people.”

Pulele’iite at the outset of his speech acknowledged those who have worked and served at ASTCA going back to when it was called the Office of Communications. He said there have been many changes over the years, moving forward now with more improvements on telecommunications with Hawaiki cable.

He invited the public to visit the ASTCA booth at the BizFest to get more information on Hawaiki and other ASTCA products.

Earlier yesterday morning, before the BizFest opened, ASTCA project manager for Hawaiki, Ted Leiato said in a joint Samoa News/ KSBS interview that two engineers from Hawaiki’s main subcontractor installer, are set to arrive tonight “to start the work on the terrestrial cable installation, which is the land portion of the cable.”

“So we’ll be pulling 1.6 miles worth of land cable” from Fogagogo, which is the cable’s landing site, to the Iliili/ Golf Course area," he said, adding that Hawaiki’s main subcontractor, TE SubCom supplies the cable and will provide installation and maintenance of the cable.

Leiato didn’t have a specific time frame of how long it will take for the land cable installation but he did say that the engineers’ arrival is timed with the arrival of the vessel and cable landing here.

He added that it takes about five weeks to test the cable system with the “ready-for-service (RFS)” still planned for the latter part of June.

The project manager explained that the last report from the vessel laying the cable — about a week ago — noted that it was working in Fiji waters installing the branching unit for Fiji and thereafter to Tonga, which is east of Fiji.

The vessel then heads over to Samoan waters, sailing first up to the northwest of Savaii island (in neighboring Samoa) “where our branching unit will be located” about 2,400 miles from Pago Pago and lay the cable from there to Tutuila.

Leiato explained that there was a few days delay in laying the cable, due to bad weather in the region. He said there was a cyclone when the ship was in New Caledonia and the vessel had to wait two days for the storm to pass before they continued their work.

Samoa News notes that it's the same cyclone, which also impacted Fiji waters nearly two weeks ago.

BACKGROUND

ASTCA signed an agreement with Hawaiki more than a year ago to bring the cable spur landing to the territory. Hawaiki had announced last year that it was to start the cable laying operations the second week of October 2017 and planned to install the American Samoa spur, which was already manufactured and loaded on to the cable ship, in the first quarter of 2018. See Samoa News Mar. 5th edition for the last update.

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