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Letter of Intent filed by ASG for Tui Samoa Cable

  Samoa Submarine Cable Company (S.S.C.C.). [Talamua On-line News]
compiled by Samoa News staff

Samoa News has learned that the American Samoa Government has filed their ‘Letter of Intent’ with the Samoa Submarine Cable Company (SSCC) to join the Tui Samoa cable. This was reported by the Samoa Observer.

The Observer reported that the cost may have gone up, given that they did not sign on when they were first approached. This is according to Pepe Fia'ailetoa Fruean, of SSCC, during an interview with the Samoa Observer. 

The SSCC held a conference call earlier this month with American Samoa Telecommunications Authority Chairman of the Board and Interim C.E.O, Puleleiite Tufele Li’a Jr and A.S.G. Official Aoe’e Aldofo Monetnegro.

“They have come up with their proposal,” Pepe told the Samoa Observer. He did not go into details of American Samoa’s proposal, but pointed out there may be changes in the cost from the first offer that was only good up until July 2017. 

 “If they had signed on when we asked them, once the Cable lands in Samoa then we can start the process of laying the cable between the two Samoas." 

“But because we had no arrangement, the Cable stops here then it goes back to Fiji then to Tonga. Then it goes back to Fiji then it’s back to our waters and there are costs where the cable travels." 

“The cost that was on the table for them (ASG) then, may not be same cost now. We have to ask the Cable people, because without the commitment, we cannot make the arrangements.”

In the spirit of unity, Pepe believes the two Samoas need to work together for a better future of the Samoan people and the much faster and cheaper Internet that comes with the Tui Samoa Cable. 

“We will continue to engage with American Samoa as we believe in the spirit of unity,” said Pepe.  

He said it is a win-win for the two Samoas with the new undersea fiber optic cable and once it’s laid it will be called the Two Samoa Cable. 

As reported earlier, by Talanei news, Puleleiite announced they were signing on with the Tui Samoa Cable. The decision follows concerns expressed by the Governor of American Samoa, Lolo Matalasi Moliga, who had told the Samoa Observer that he was “not satisfied” with the proposal from Samoa about the Tui Samoa cable. 

Earlier this year, Lolo told the Samoa Observer he was concerned about “conflicting” money obligations, as well as the “lack of clarity” in terms of cost and benefits analysis. 

“The presentation (by Samoa) was conducted in a manner where we were left with many unanswered questions,” the governor said in March.

But things appear to have been sorted out now.

Samoa’s cable is due to go live in January 2018.

The move coincides with the agreement the former Board of Directors of ASTCA signed with Hawaiki Cable, which is scheduled to launch service in American Samoa next year. 

Puleleiite has said the capacity of the existing American Samoa Hawaii Cable is maxed out and going with Samoa’s Tui Samoa cable is the fastest solution to the bandwidth problem, which according to the Interim CEO is the reason the Internet is so slow in American Samoa.

He had indicated that the Territory was going with both the Tui cable and the Hawaiki cable. 

In March of this year, Lolo said approval from the federal government was required in order to sign on with Tui cable and the territory would be asking “the federal government for money to fund it and they have already expressed their concerns given the cable will be laid through foreign countries.” 

To date, there has been no announcement by ASG that permission was granted or not needed by the federal government, or that funding has been forthcoming or even denied.